Mission: Impossible’s Rebecca Ferguson chats with Flicks

After her breakout role as Ilsa Faust in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Rebecca Ferguson returns to the franchise in the insanely-anticipated Mission: Impossible – Fallout (one of the films we’re most looking forward to this year). Steve Newall chatted on the phone to Ferguson a couple of months ago about the pic, which opens here August 2nd (with early sneaks in the days preceding).

FLICKS: Hello Rebecca, how are you?

I’m bloody marvelous, how are you, sir?

Strong answer. Yeah, pretty good as well, thank you.

Well, you know what it’s so beautiful, I’m not working, I am in my fishing village. Life couldn’t be better.

Oh, that’s fantastic. How long has it been since you wrapped up your production commitments on the film?

400 years ago. No, I’m joking – cheeky answer. No, I wrapped up March. I want to say March, that’s when we all finished. I know that Tom had to continue to do some HALO jumps with Henry Cavill but I think I left first or second week of March.

Right, so that’s a nice amount of time to relax into time off.

Oh God, it’s luxury. Which is ridiculous because I love working but, heavily pregnant, having a baby in a week, kind of nice not to work.

Oh jeez – great timing! As befits the franchise, there’s a bunch of pretty great locations to get away to in this film. How did that compare to where you shot the previous one?

I think actually one of the most wonderful things of this franchise is that you never know where you’re going to travel until the script arrives and it’s like a little Kinder egg, you know the chocolatey thing, there’s a surprise inside. Last time we were in Vienna and London and, where we – God, I can’t remember right now – but I always wanted to go to New Zealand and to shoot in France was just heaven. The locations are absolutely insane – and also it’s not like we go to France and we shoot a couple of scenes. We block out the entire Arc de Triomphe or the Trocadéro or they go to Norway and do the most absurd climbing on the Preacher’s Chair. I mean it’s beautiful.

It sounds like it’s a little bit more interesting to be in the middle of than traveling around the world just to be inside a soundstage.

Yeah, you’re lucky. You’re traveling around with this super team and they go, “God, look at that mountain! Let’s film there. Yes. Let’s have four helicopters get us up and let’s film there because no one else has! [laughs].

Going back to the previous one again for a moment. Your performance in that was quite a breakout role, and one of the things that was so great about it that I think resonated strongly with people was that the nature of your character wasn’t what a typical female character in an action movie would be. Do we see further developments in this new film that are similar to that?

Yeah. I mean, it all down to how Chris wants to cut it together. But I think Chris McQuarrie is very determined in making strong characters whether they’re men or women. I mean, that’s one of the main features, I think, for me as an actor, is the equality that he serves in how he writes his characters. He loves them. He loves his characters. And hence me loving playing her. I mean, there’s a lot of people asking me, “What does it feel like being a woman on set with lots of men?” And especially today, the gender equality question’s really important. I never feel like a woman amongst all these men, I feel like a person amongst all these other people. And that’s exactly, I think, how he writes his stories as well.

There was a female here, who, describing when she was coming up in the industry, said she was treated like “one of the boys”. The men on the set felt that that was a compliment to her. But actually, perhaps she’d rather not be a male, thanks.

I mean, it’s funny that, isn’t it? I saw a great TED Talk talk which said, “I don’t want to compliment my daughter for being a tomboy. All of a sudden we give praise to the little children that become tomboys. It’s not like we praise the boys when they’re little girlboys? Do we?” It’s more of a hinder. It’d be lovely to just be whoever we are without putting any gender staples on our foreheads. I actually completely agree with that.

I guess some of this stuff’s really on your mind at the moment with the impending arrival of a child.

Of course. God almighty. Actually, I’m sitting here thinking how do you raise a child? With all the questions. I mean, I think all you can do is be as good a parent as you can with your own moral values. And I know that my moral values have served me, to my best endeavours. We’ll always fuck them up, won’t we, children. My mum always said that, I don’t know who she quotes, but children, we always fuck them up, but we could do our best and love them to bits.

Going back to ‘Fallout’ one of the central threads in this film, from what I can gather, is that it’s dealing with the fuck-ups that an adult’s made, that a bunch of adults have made.

[Laughs] Well done!

Are there any other timely themes or hot-button issues that raise their head the film?

You know what? These are the questions you need to ask Chris, because he is so bloody good at explaining his stories. It’s quite hard understanding his stories when you shoot with him. And that’s one of the little challenges of shooting a film with Chris and Tom. They have sometimes a beginning and then they sometimes have an end, and then there’s no middle. Or they’ll have a middle and a lot of great stunts, but not the beginning or the end. And he doesn’t shy away from it, because there’s so many ideas in Christopher McQuarrie’s head and in Tom’s.

Everything kind of links together beautifully in an extremely intellectual, high-driven thriller. Always with a homage to either Hitchcock, which I think the last film was. This film, for me anyway, reminds me a little bit of the art of the ’70s, ’80s movies with the filter, the kind of brownish colours. So there’s always a reason to everything. You just don’t really know the reason until you’ve seen the film [laughs] and they’ve cut it together.

Did you spend some time in the presence of Henry Cavill’s moustache?

I did. How lucky am I?

Is it spectacular enough in person to have been worth all the-

[cuts in] Actually, sorry, how lucky is his moustache?

In person, was it worth all the pain and torture that that hair caused?

Couldn’t care less, Steve, to be honest. I was quite busy with my own training and shooting, but actually, it wasn’t until quite recently when someone told me about the moustache issue and I thought, “I think that production has enough money to solve an issue like that.” I think there are bigger issues in the world. But he looked bloody good in it, and he’s extremely funny. I really like Henry. I did not know he would have such wit and he’s so fiercely intelligent. Yeah. He’s a fun one.

In my closing seconds, may I ask you to describe in one word your reaction when you heard about Tom’s injury?

I’m-going-to-make-a-baby [laughs].

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