In the newest installment of the Mission Impossible franchise, Rogue Nation, Rebecca Ferguson joins the cast as the mysterious Ilsa. The IMF team tries to take down the Syndicate (the rogue organization), and it would seem that perhaps Ethan (Tom Cruise) has finally met his match in Ilsa. Ferguson is a Swedish actress who became a star at the young age of fifteen on the Swedish soap opera, “Nya tider.” Cinedelphia was lucky to have a chance to ask the steadily rising star a few questions. She discusses some of the difficulties of doing her own stunts alongside the seasoned Cruise and what she loves about being a movie star.
Cinedelphia: Because you did your own stunts, did you get any injuries?
Rebecca Ferguson: No, none! No. I wish I did so I could show you, but I really don’t. I think because Tom [Cruise] has been doing this for so long, and the people that we have around us, like Wade Eastwood the stunt coordinator with his team, they are so on top of things. Nothing can happen. And you have Lucy, my stunt double, they’ll send her in, and she’ll try it out, and then I do it. But I bruise like a peach. So I’d come and I’d go, [counting bruises] “One, two, three, four, five…that’s one more than yesterday! Woo!”
C: Can you talk about your physical training process and what you had to do to prepare for the role?
RF: When I got the part, basically I landed at Heathrow, the car picked me up and brought me straight to the gym. From that day, it was six hours a day, six days a week. But that’s not like, you being in a gym for six hours. It’s divided up. You do Pilates, which I had as a ground tool for all my moves. Because Pilates, what it does is you learn about the body in a certain way. So you know that when you just do a kick, you’re not just kicking. You know the rotation of your hips so you don’t injure yourself. So it structures and builds up your body in an incredible way. And then we sprint—Tom Cruise likes running, I don’t know if you know that. He’s a fast runner. So a lot of sprinting. I’d be on that sprinter every day, trying to catch up to his [Tom’s] shadow. And then all of the specific moves. Underwater sequences…I mean it’s always—if you know that you’re doing an underwater sequence in January, we won’t be practicing that in August, you do something else. Then December comes, and that’s when you start rehearsing for the next [stunt].
C: And how long was that process?
RF: Well, the prepping was a month and a half before shooting, but then we would continue training throughout the entire process for what was coming up.
C: Your career started at age fifteen. What has kept you coming back all these years, and motivated to keep going?
RF: Probably the different roles that I’ve been getting. It’s fun. I mean, I’m playing the Queen of England, I played Countess Borghese in Italy. I get to travel—I get to meet different cultures of people and I take family, I take my friends over as soon as I can. I bring them over to see sets and whatever area I’m in. And that’s enough.
C: Did your early career have an impact on your childhood?
RF: Yeah, it did. Because I was sent into a working environment, I never got into that sort of “adolescent” party behavior—that might kick in later. [Laughs] I don’t know if it’s growing up fast…I don’t really know, I moved away from home when I was sixteen. I started paying bills then, I had responsibility. And I liked it. It’s just sort of the way my life has been, and I don’t know anything else. And I’ve loved it. It’s been…quite easy.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation opens this Friday in Philly theaters.
Author: Catherine Haas
Catherine Haas is a native Philadelphian who received her master’s in film history from Columbia University. She is a freelance film programmer, writer, and an avid pug enthusiast.