Meet Tom Cruise's partner-in-crime Rebecca Ferguson
The Swedish actress raves about overcoming vertigo, action films, and of course, her Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation co-star Tom Cruise
Rebecca Ferguson is a strong believer in confronting your fears.
Going into Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation she told herself that she would seize the day and face every challenge, no matter how daunting, as it came along.
Director Christopher McQuarrie’s eagerly anticipated film would require the Swedish actress to tackle many of her own stunts in the spectacular action sequences that the hugely successful franchise is famous for.
She knew too, of course, that her co-star, Tom Cruise, who returns as IMF (Impossible Missions Force) operative Ethan Hunt, is an actor who relishes and thrives on doing his own hair-raising stunt work and that spurred her on to do as much of her own action as possible – even if it meant facing her dread of heights.
“I suffered from vertigo before making this film," the 31-year-old brunette shared.
"I wouldn’t go in an elevator before – I wouldn’t have jumped from two metres but I overcame that fear of heights and it’s because you are part of a team and you know what’s needed, and also I knew that if I couldn’t do it there was always Lucy Cork my stunt double who would jump in.
“But Tom does all of his stunts, so I sort of said to myself, ‘come on, you only live once, and this is happening right now…'”
Once Ferguson knew that she had landed the part of the mysterious undercover agent Ilsa Faust, she embarked on a gruelling fitness and diet regime to prepare for the movie.
“We had a month and a half to prepare before filming started and it was six hours a day, six days a week, which was incredibly intense but also organised and scheduled and within that schedule it would be diverse, too.”
She added: "I would have Pilates, martial arts training, and I would do general fitness.
"It was tough but essential because you have to prepare and you have to be in the best possible condition to survive on a film like this.”
She was filming The Red Tent in Morocco when she first sent in an audition tape to Rogue Nation director Christopher McQuarrie. Then during a 24-hour break from filming the biblical TV drama, she headed to London for a meeting with McQuarrie and Cruise who instantly made her feel at ease.
"It was actually the most relaxing meeting I have ever had. Because I was working, I was in the mind-set of filming and working and from one day to the next and then, I had just 24 hours in London to do the meeting with Tom.”
“I arrived at this beautiful house and Tom was there with Chris, and I didn’t really have time to feel nervous because I knew I had to go back on set for The Red Tent so it was straight in... the only nerves I had were not about meeting Tom but the fact that I knew I would love to do the role and be a part of the film.”
Her character, Ilsa, is right at the heart of the story but the audience will have to work out exactly whose side she is on.
Ethan and his team are tracking a mysterious organisation known as The Syndicate although it quickly becomes apparent that The Syndicate are also stalking and seeking to kill the IMF operatives.
"We don’t know her agenda and she is very mysterious," Ferguson explained about her character.
"What we do know is that she is highly intelligent and equally as trained as Ethan, which is interesting and fascinating because the audience never knows when the turn will come and where the story will go.”
Ferguson has long been a fan of action films and in particular, the Mission: Impossible franchise.
“I love action movies and I love Mission: Impossible films. I absolutely love them.
"I love action films when they are intelligent and I love well-choreographed fight scenes," she said, adding that she used to watch "a lot of Jet Li films".
Said the keen amateur dancer who once worked in a studio in Sweden: "I love movement and dance, and a beautifully choreographed fight scene is all movement and rhythm.”
"One of the things I learnt there was control of the body and that fit in beautifully with this dynamic on Mission: Impossible."
Source: UIP Singapore