Rebecca Ferguson is one of those actresses you’ll soon see everywhere. Right now, she’s best known for starring in The White Queen, The Red Tent, and Hercules, but in less than two weeks, she can be seen alongside Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. The 31 year old Swedish actress plays Ilsa Faust, an equal to Cruise’s Ethan Hunt. She may or may not be a member of The Syndicate, the anti-IMF organization from the television series, and while she’s remained tight-lipped regarding the specifics of her character, Ferguson has been open about all other aspects of the film. Beginning her part of the press tour for Rogue Nation, Rebecca Ferguson has begun speaking in regards to landing the role of Ilsa Faust, getting into impossible shape, and working with Tom Cruise. What’cha Reading has all of your news right here.
Rebecca Ferguson has said, of her character, “Ilsa is an undercover agent, and we never really know whose side she’s on. She’s a mysterious woman – but she is Ethan Hunt’s equal, and she helps him try to bring the Syndicate down.” There’s a real sense of vagueness surrounding Ilsa, but in early screenings of the film, early word of mouth has been positive regarding her performance. Director and writer Christopher McQuarrie revealed that they had trouble defining the character of Ilsa as they searched for an actress to bring her to life. It wasn’t until Tom Cruise had watched her in The White Queen that the team had then “happened upon a five-minute tape she’d done and said, “That’s her.”” The last minute discovery of Rebecca Ferguson had the actress overwhelmed as she was currently in Morocco filming The Red Tent when she was told the producers of Rogue Nation were interested in meeting with her. Specifically the mention that series star and producer Tom Cruise had wanted to meet with her made Ferguson nervous as she felt she did not have “enough stature to carry such a role.” Flying into Heathrow Airport in England, “I think the nerves came after realizing I just met him because it was so fast. I met him basically 17 hours after I had descended from my camel Barbie [while shooting a scene in Morocco for another film]. And it was more of the efficiency of meeting him. It was like the car to the flight [to London], “I have to do this, who’s taking care of my son? What am I doing?” And then boom, there he was! And we laughed and had fun and then I left the room going: What the — just happened?” Christopher McQuarrie, when asked if he wanted to audition her upon her arrival in London, said “It’s OK, she’s already got the job.”
There’s a significant amount of promise that the film holds in regards to the chemistry Rebecca Ferguson and Tom Cruise will share. It’s not a surprise that the fifth Mission will feature a new female lead as each film has rotated the lead actress in the same way the writers and directors change. It provides Cruise the opportunity to showcase new talent and offer a completely different experience than the last. While Maggie Q, Kerri Russel, and Paula Patton have offered more of a physicality to the films over the course of three films, French actress Emmanuelle Beart presented more of a quiet reserve in M:i-1, whereas English actress Thandie Newton was more of a young, energetic, and graceful presence in M:i-2. Rebecca Ferguson looks to be an amalgamation of all the actresses as we’ve seen more and more from the July 31 opener. Her Ilsa Faust looks to have the physicality and the reserve as seen in previous actresses. In a previous article on Rebecca Ferguson, Baz Bamigboye conducted an interview with the Swedish actress and entitled it “The Mission Impossible star with REALLY killer thighs.” It may sound like a poor headline, but upon reading it, the headline is, quite literally, about Rebecca Ferguson’s “killer thighs.” There’s a particular fight sequence in Rogue Nation that she jokingly refers to as “the killer thigh move.” The fight move, devised by the film’s stunt coordinator Wade Eastwood, utilized her stunt-double Lucy Cork. But while her stunt double was used for the particularly difficult move, Ferguson did six hours a day, six day training for her role as soon as she arrived in London after booking the role. “I didn’t want to bulk up. I wanted to be lean, but my body, apparently, reacted quite quickly. It’s a bit corny, but Tom would say, “You’re very athletic,” and I’d go, “No, I’m lean – ready for yoga!” I don’t look in the mirror much. I mean, you’ll see it…” Ferguson said to Benji Wilson of The Daily Mail. Her training, which grew more intense as shooting began, consisted of pilates, sprinting, regular training, and fight choreography.
The Mission: Impossible films, not unlike Tom Cruise’s other films, always feature the actor running. He loves to run and it’s confirmed by Rebecca Ferguson. In an interview with ELLE magazine, Ferguson said “Tom Cruise likes to run. I don’t know if you’ve seen him. He sprints like a Formula 1 Man.” She also revealed “He’s a fast runner and he loves sprinting. I’d be on that sprinter every day trying to catch up to his shadow. The prepping was a month and a half before shooting, then we would continue training throughout the entire process for what [stunts]were coming up.” The actress, who suffers from vertigo, has quite a few vertigo inducing stunt sequences in Rogue Nation. For the actress, being only five feet off the ground could induce her sense of vertigo. Ironically, what was her first day of filming? A jump off a Vienna State Opera, with Tom Cruise by her side. ‘There’s a jump where we’re up on a roof and we’re sliding down and then he nearly falls off. My legs are wrapped around him, and then he jumps and we slide down. That’s 75 feet. ‘We were working ourselves up gradually, which I didn’t know, to another freefall that I had to do from 125 feet. I did it. I realised there’s so much more that I can do – you don’t know you have the capability.’
There is no doubt that Rebecca Ferguson is set to explode on screen. With a starring role in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, it’s just the kind of opportunity that many hope for. With all of the work she’s put into the film, watching her performance in the July 31st film will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the Chris McQuarrie film. As for her response for joining another action franchise? “Bring ’em all!”
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