UAE: Tom Cruise, cast of Mission Impossible storm Abu Dhabi premiere, leave fans wanting for more

Dazzling at the premiere of the film, Hollywood stars Hayley Atwell, Simon Pegg, Pom Klementieff and director Christopher McQuarrie talk about the Tom Cruise-starrer


Husain Rizvi

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Photo: Shihab
Photo: Shihab

Published: Tue 27 Jun 2023, 5:50 PM

Last updated: Tue 27 Jun 2023, 6:11 PM

He has flown a helicopter; piloted an F/A-18 jet, climbed a 2,000-foot cliff and the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa, held his breath for six minutes underwater, and in his latest stunt, Tom Cruise rides a motorbike off a cliff and parachutes his way down. These are just some of the incredible stunts the Hollywood actor has pulled off.

His latest stunt is part of a sequence from Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One, Christopher McQuarrie’s latest that introduces Hayley Atwell to the franchise, and marks the return of familiar faces like Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, Vanessa Kirby and others.

The film had its Abu Dhabi premiere on Monday at the city’s luxurious Emirates Palace. Director McQuarrie, along with Cruise, Atwell, Pegg and Pom Klementieff, were in attendance.

Of all the stunts Cruise has performed, we wanted to ask which one he rated the most exhilarating one. But after an interaction with fans at the red carpet, Cruise was rushed to the main stage, leaving us media with a few words: “I will be right back.” That summed up our interaction with Cruise at the red carpet; however, we caught up with Atwell, McQuarrie, Pegg and Klementieff for brief interactions.

Did you know? Cruise’s jumping-off-a-cliff-on-a-bike stunt was the first sequence that was shot for Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One? “It was an enormous challenge,” said McQuarrie. “Both in terms of physical as well as the engineering part of it, the resources that went into it. What followed immediately was the train sequence, the exteriors of it. So we did all of the most challenging stuff right up front, thinking that it would all be downhill from there. But everything was a challenge.”

Does one ever get used to Cruise pulling off such daring stunts? “You never get used to it because he always pushes it further,” Pegg remarked. “Just when you think you can deal with him hanging on to the side of the plane, he jumps off a cliff on a motorbike and you get scared again. But he’s always really careful about how he trains. The coordination is always on point. So it is as safe as it can be, even though it is terrifying.”

Would Pegg ever embark on such stunts, we asked. “Well, I am kind of happy where I am,” he joked. “The thing that really amazes me about Tom is the preparation. He spends so much time just getting ready to do this stuff. I feel like I’ve got other things I need to do. I need to walk my dogs and play video games with my kids. The commitment Tom has is mind-boggling.”

With an intriguing plotline, the film is filled with action. And one of the feistiest characters is Klementieff’s. The French actress popular for playing Mantis in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is one of the villains of the film who has an edgy action sequence in the film with Cruise.

Klementieff prepared for months to play Paris, she said, participating in intensive training, like uphill sprints and pilates, to make sure that her core and ankles were strong. She also underwent training for punching, kicking, kickboxing, and katana and sword-fighting. “We tried a lot of different things and we narrowed down to what would look best with the character and the scene,” she said.

But Klementieff never felt like giving up. “I always want to do more,” she said. “I am not saying I am invincible, but I like taking risks. So if you’re really prepared and push yourself, you can do a lot of crazy things. And I would love to do more of that.”

Franchise newcomer Atwell has her fair share of ‘crazy’ stuff in the film. McQuarrie said Haley is somebody they have been talking to for about 10 years. “I saw Hayley on stage in London a long time ago and had the opportunity to meet her,” he said. “We brought her in to read on other things, and she has such a unique talent and an amazing presence. We were just looking for the right thing for her.”

And the right thing came in the form of Grace, her character in the film. “It was a relief,” said Atwell. “Finally, we found something after a decade and how exciting that it was going to be in a world that they had already established so well. But also, they wanted me to come in and that I would be creating the character with them.”

Atwell was not interested in playing a “one word character” whether she’s a femme fatale, ice queen, or a victim. In a world full of impossible missions, she wanted to find a character to which she could offer lots of different versions. “So when I saw the film, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s the version they went with,’ because each take had a different flavour or quality. Sometimes, she was much more reckless, at other times, she was much more self-assured. Sometimes, she’d be much more sympathetic, and at other times, morally questionable. So, I could say that I got to play different versions of her.”

This is Atwell’s first-ever onscreen outing with Cruise and it is safe to say the two hit it off incredibly well. “It is a testament to our trust in each other,” she said. “We are very much engaged and connected (in the car chase sequence) and that comes from being totally present with each other and a sense of what the other person is doing. So, you can work with that kind of energy and give something back within the world of the story you’re creating. It takes a lot of trust to be able to do that.”

“From the beginning, his (Cruise) level of transparency about the process was unmatched, making me feel very involved, safe, and that means I was led with a sense of confidence rather than fear. He disarms the feeling of him being Tom Cruise very quickly. We were just two people going to work,” she added.

Apart from Cruise, Kirby, who returns as the White Widow in the film, was also a very welcoming figure to Atwell. “She really believed in me,” she said, “and after years of making the film, she’s someone I will always be grateful to.”

Preparations for Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part Two are still underway, but director McQuarrie has three words for us: even more missions.


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