Mission: Impossible is, first and foremost, an excuse for Tom Cruise to get paid to snowboard down Shanghai Tower, or whatever, but the longer the action franchise has gone on, the more it’s become an ensemble. Ving Rhames is to M:I as John Ratzenberger is to Pixar, of course, but Simon Pegg has been around since Mission: Impossible III, while Michelle Monaghan, Rebecca Ferguson, and Alec Baldwin have appeared in multiple films, and Vanessa Kirby is returning for M:I VII after making her debut in Fallout. One of the few one-and-done, never-again-mentioned non-villains is professional thief/love interest Nyah Nordoff-Hall, played by Thandie Newton in Mission: Impossible 2, generally considered the worst Mission: Impossible movie. That’s not Newton’s fault, though; the Westworld actress is very good in the extremely John Woo-directed film, which, as she revealed to Vulture, sounded like a difficult experience.
“I was so scared of Tom. He was a very dominant individual. He tries super hard to be a nice person. But the pressure. He takes on a lot. And I think he has this sense that only he can do everything as best as it can be done,” Newton said before telling a story about a scene, with “so many extras” and pyrotechnics, she and Cruise were in together:
“Tom was not happy with what I was doing because I had the sh*ttiest lines. And he gets so frustrated with having to try and explain that he goes, ‘Let me just — let’s just go do it. Let’s just rehearse on-camera.’ So we rehearsed and they recorded it, and then he goes, ‘I’ll be you. You be me.’ So we filmed the entire scene with me being him — because, believe me, I knew the lines by then — and him playing me. And it was the most unhelpful. I can’t think of anything less revealing. It just pushed me further into a place of terror and insecurity. It was a real shame. And bless him. And I really do mean bless him, because he was trying his damnedest.”
Newton doesn’t think Cruise is “horrible” (“It was just… he was really stressed”) but he does give horrible Christmas presents. “He was very generous and open about sharing Scientological stuff. Christmas gifts would be something to do with Scientology,” she said. “Like a book with the greatest hits of Scientology, a bit like a Bible kind of thing. I was curious, because it’s like, ‘Wow, if it’s going to attract people, powerful, high-profile people, there’s got to be some glue that sticks this sh*t together.’ Didn’t find any.”
Tom Cruise is a maniac and very bad at Secret Santa? Sounds about right.