“You never sign up for a sequel thinking “let’s make a s****er version of the movie that came before””.
These are the wise words of Rebecca Ferguson, who caught up with Zavvi to discuss reprising her role as Ilsa Faust in the action-packed seventh entry of the Mission: Impossible franchise. In terms of action set pieces, this latest instalment has certainly pushed the boat out, with dramatic car chases across Rome, a death-defying motorcycle stunt, and a train carriage finale designed to leave your jaw on the floor.
However, the actress believes that the saga’s increasingly intense action sequences aren’t the key to their continued success, highlighting that the emotional bonds between Ethan Hunt and his IMF comrades are what keep her eager to return for more.
She explained: “You very rarely get to see them individually outside of the unit of the group, and I feel like with each film, you get to see them have this growth together – the moments where they save each other, or have heart to heart consequences. There’s one scene with me and Luther (Ving Rhames) that is so pivotal to how Ilsa comes to understand Ethan, and to understand Ethan is to understand Benji (Simon Pegg) as that’s the domino effect of group collaboration.
“The thing that’s interesting with Ilsa is that she has an obvious growth, but it’s constantly jeopordised by her ulterior motives. She completely transforms with the group, but you still never fully know where you are with her.
“I’m always grateful for the journey that she gets to go on – I become better at all of my other acting jobs because of what I do here. I mean, I get to do sword fights, it’s brilliant.”
While Ferguson continues to be front and centre fighting, Pegg’s Benji largely remains behind a computer screen (or, in a particularly tense bomb defusal set piece, handling some sinister airport luggage) as his colleagues are thrown into impossible fights. This is exactly how the actor wants it, as he told Zavvi he loves being an action hero without having to be pushed into intense spaces.
He said: “We operate outside our comfort zone, and are constantly pushing ourselves further out of it. I read on an inspirational quote on a poster of a kitten that says “life starts outside your comfort zone”, and I thoroughly believe that!
“I like the fact that I get to participate in these massive stunts without ever having to do any of them as I’m the one pushing Ethan off the cliff. I love it whenever Benji gets to shout at Ethan; Benji’s sending him up a mountain to jump off on a motorcycle, and it turns into a sibling quarrel – I love any opportunity to make Tom Cruise go quiet by shouting at him!”
As a character who never gets much in the way of death-defying stunts, has Pegg ever wanted to recreate any Mission: Impossible set pieces himself?
“I always go back to the Burj Khalifa climb from Ghost Protocol, just because of how it compares with other stunts; there’s more of a stunt team involved than there is for jumping off a cliff on a motorbike.
“I was up there with Tom’s stunt team on the inside, who were all holding onto ropes – it’s this vertiginous, scary position, and as I looked out the window he was just hanging there, staring at me with this huge s**t eating grin on his face, unfazed by everything. Yeah, with that team involved, I think I’d be okay doing that!
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is in cinemas now.