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Tom Cruise in latest Mission: Impossible movie: ‘You can’t say no to him’

4:32 pm, 17th July 2018

And with the franchise’s sixth instalment, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, set to take its total gross past the $3bn (£226bn) mark, pressure is on for the spy action series to deliver.

But despite the A-list cast, impressive scope and big budget – reported to be around $150m (£113m) – filming didn’t always go to plan.

Take for example when Cruise broke his ankle after smashing into the side of a building part-way through filming.

Yet, his female co-star, Rebecca Ferguson, has little sympathy with her on-screen love-interest on the matter.

“You can never be too sure, so you have to double-check and triple-check everything yourself and take responsibility in case something happens.

“So, him [Cruise] breaking his foot, I only blame him basically,” she joked.

“That’s all I have to say. No sympathy, I mean he didn’t check something. Distance I’m thinking.”

At this point in our interview, Cruise himself bounds into the room and enthusiastically kisses his co-star on the cheek.

Ferguson is suitably surprised, shouting: “Oh my God! F****** H***”, before laughing it off.

However, back in the world of the film, while she admits there was “a lot of male and testosterone around”, she says that behind the scenes “there’s a lot of goddamn women which is fantastic”.

Ferguson adds that, “while filming, I never feel like a woman in a man’s world here, I feel like a human being surrounded by other human beings and I think that is what I’m after when it comes to equality”.

She said the women in the film add depth of character, not – in her own words – “just adding boobs to the film”.

Simon Pegg, who stars as tech side-kick Benji Dunn to Cruise’s superspy Ethan Hunt, says that working with the Hollywood star can be nail-biting – apart from Cruise’s giggling on set (“when he goes, he really goes”) .

Pegg recalled the previous M:I films, saying: “It’s always stressful. On this film in particular.

“On Ghost Protocol when he did Burj Khalifa stunt [in the film Cruise scales the world’s tallest building in Dubai] there was a sense of like, ‘Ooh, this is exciting’.

“And then on the A400 plane that he hung onto in Rogue Nation it was more of a quiet kind of, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’

“And on this one, there were multiple times when I flat out just said, ‘Are you genuinely going to this, because this isn’t entirely safe’.

“And he was just so dedicated to bringing it. And giving the audience the sense of authenticity that you don’t get from films where it’s all done in special effects.

“We just had to lump it. You can’t say no to him. It’s difficult. You try and tell him not to do something and he’ll just do it anyway. He’s a very naughty boy.”

When asked about the MeToo movement, Pegg, who has previously lent his support to the HeForShe gender equality campaign, thinks now is a time for change.

“It happens everywhere and in every facet of industry – marketing, retail, leisure, charity – it’s happening to women, not just to actresses”.

“We’re in a period of social awakening and I think it’s important for us as men to put up and shut up, and to offer support at least.”

“Yes, we’re going to have to re-educate ourselves in terms of how we interact. Yes we’re going to have to re-define our normalities, but that doesn’t make us the victim. The victims are the women, and that has to be remembered.”

Directing the franchise for a second time, Christopher McQuarrie says he likes to “create characters for women where they’re not just serving the protagonist” – a rule he says he carried through his career, right back to the first film he directed (The Way Of The Gun with Juliette Lewis).

He also says that as a man who has “always had respect for equality” the MeToo movement hasn’t caused him to change anything I his working world.

But one thing that did impact the filming schedule was Cruise’s ankle break.

“That was something we weren’t expecting, he said. “It changed the film in ways we didn’t quite expect, but all for the better.”

Did McQuarrie ever think Cruise may be out for good?

“No, I’ve been through enough things with Tom – there have been other injuries and setbacks – I knew that was going to be fine.

“What we always like to say is, ‘Disaster is the opportunity to excel’. When something goes wrong in a movie it just forces everyone to come together and be more creative to solve the problem. There’s always a solution.”

And the end result was even bigger than expected: “This time we focused on character, story and emotion, but I don’t think we knew how big and crazy the film really was until we put it all together.”

One scene, involving Cruise performing a high-altitude low-open (“halo”) skydive jump from over 25,000ft, took over a month to film.

McQuarrie explains: “The halo sequence is about three minutes long and it took us a month to shoot it.”

“And then three months of visual effects work on top of that, with hundreds of people working on it, so in terms of screen time, that’s probably the most work that went into any minute of the film.”

And he said that the 55-year-old superstar doing all his own stunts was a mixed blessing.

“It’s great for me, and it’s a challenge for me at the same time. You always have to find ways to put the camera in a place to show that it’s Tom doing it, and that’s always a challenge.”

Henry Cavill, aka Superman, joins the Mission: Impossible cast in the role of August Warren – a CIA agent determined to take down Ethan Hunt at all costs.

Despite his own superhero credentials, he was impressed by Cruise.

“All the usual stuff you hear about Tom, charming, professional, always on time, kind. That’s all by-the-by. When I met him, I was like, ‘Okay, good, this is all true’. What got me was that I’m not easily impressed by people, I’m just not. But Tom impressed me.

“He’s stunt flying a helicopter in the mountains, all while acting to cameras and all for the audiences’ sake. I was watching him doing this, and I thought, ‘You know what, you just made my impressive list, you’re a badass’.”

Mission: Impossible – Fallout is released in UK cinemas on 25 July 2018.