In Tom Cruise’s long and successful career, there is only one movie series that he will keep returning to for sequels: “Mission: Impossible.” In “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” (the fourth movie in the series) Cruise reprises his role as Ethan Hunt, the rogue Impossible Mission Forces (IMF) operative who has become a fugitive, and he has to lead a team of other operatives to find a courier carrying nuclear launch codes.
Joining him on his mission are physically tough IMF operative Jane Carter (played by Paula Patton), mysterious analyst William Brandt (played by Jeremy Renner), IMF agent Trevor Hanaway (played by Josh Holloway); and technical whiz Benji Dunn (played by Simon Pegg). Léa Seydoux has a supporting role as a villain who kills one of these agents and is not afraid to murder more to achieve her goals. Here is what Cruise, Renner, Patton, Pegg, Holloway and Seydoux had to say about making “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.”
Interview with Tom Cruise
Why do you like most about making “Mission: Impossible” movies?
Cruise: I love making these movies because it is such a challenge. Ethan and his team get into these situations. And I enjoy the challenge of coming up with these sequences.
What can you say about “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” director Brad Bird, since this is his first “Mission: Impossible” movie?
Cruise: His sequences are amazing. And also his characters, how he keeps the tension and suspense in his stories. When you look at “The Incredibles,” when you look at “Ratatouille,” the design of those sequences, the characters and also his understanding and love of cinema. We share that together.
When we got together, we just talked about … You just go right in. It’s like an old friend talking about our favorite movies and things. And I felt personally that he was someone I’d really like hang out with and work with, and someone I have great respect for.
What did you do to prepare your climbing stunts on the Burj Khalifa?
Cruise: We didn’t have a lot of test time. What they did was they built walls for me, just to practice my climbing. And we did drills. We had to figure out. “How are the gloves are going to work? How do we do it?” So I spent months working on that, and then training, going up and down as fast as I could, getting my endurance up in the climb.
What was it like working with J.J. Abrams, who is one of the producers of “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”?
Cruise: I like to work with people that I like hanging out with, that I admire, that are really smart and talented, and we can problem solve together. That’s what it’s about. I love J.J. So to work with him on this [movie], that’s why I did it. I brought it to him and said, “Let’s do this together. We’ll have some fun.”
How would you describe your “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” co-stars Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton and Léa Seydoux?
Cruise: Renner is just a wonderful actor. He’s a great actor. He brings a physicality and an intelligence and charm to that character. It’s a surprise. It’s the mystery of that character. I don’t want to give too much away what he does, but he’s extraordinary. It was a lot of fun working with him.
Simon Pegg, playing Benji, who’s now in the field early on, who’s made it through training. You discover he’s now in the field. He’s our techie on the ground. He’s just fantastic. What he does, his humor is just fantastic. It’s a very cool team.
Paula is so physical [in] action, and she’s never done anything like that before. She just worked really hard and brought a tremendous amount to this character. She’s enormously talented.
Léa is a fantastic actress. Again, she’s never done action before, but [she’s a] very dynamic, very talented actress. She did all of her own stunts also.
Interview with Jeremy Renner
How would your describe your William Brandt character?
Renner: Brandt, being an analyst, is seemingly a tight-wound desk guy, who is as smart as a whip. That’s us job. He’s very analytical and not very emotional about things. But you slowly start to see, not the unraveling, but the feeling of who he really is.
What can you say about the humor in “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”?
Renner: If you look at any of Brad Bird’s movies, which I think are all genius in their own right, there’s a through line of his sensibility and sense of humor. And that is definitely rampant, I believe, in this [movie].
How else would you describe “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” director Brad Bird?
Renner: Brad Bird brought his sensibility. I think every good director does a very specific vision. Watch [Bird’s 2004 movie] “The Incredibles.” That seems like “Mission: [Impossible]” to me. It really does. It has that sort of wonderful time with character and sensibility and sense of humor. And then when the action’s there, it’s hot, it’s on fire, and it’s pretty intense.
What was it like doing the “fan jump” scene?
Renner: The relay room is a massive computer array where I have to use this gadget again, and wear this magnetic suit, and there’s little rover that’s magnetic, and I just float around on this thing. That’s the theory of what’s supposed to happen. Otherwise, if it doesn’t work, I fall onto this fan, probably 15-feet round and spinning, like a blender.
Interview with Simon Pegg
What kind of training did you do for your role in “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”?
Pegg: I wanted Benji to be a credible agent. I didn’t want him to just look like he just walked out of the lab. The idea was that he’d been training very hard to make the grade. You can’t just be an IMF agent without going through some horrendous training, I would imagine.
And so I worked with the stunt coordinator Rob Alonzo. We did a lot of fight training. I did a lot of Taekwondo, Chinese fighting stick kind of stuff. I hit the gym a lot. I changed my diet. I got into it.
How would you describe your Benji Dunn character?
Pegg: Benji is the ultimate IT [information technology] guy. He’s the computer guy, but he just knows everything about everything. If you need something patched into something, if you need an upload or a download or you need to hack into something, he’s your guy.
What do you think of the humor in “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”?
Pegg: I come from a tradition of comedy. Benji’s attitude, he’s British, so he has kind of a dry approach to everything, as a lot of British people do. And in any situation, he’s perhaps not quite as serious as the others. That’s how he copes with fear and danger: by making light of things.
What kinds of gadgets in the movie impressed you?
Pegg: Benji is quite obsessed with the mask machine. He harbors a secret desire to wear one, but I figure he tinkers with it in his time off. He likes to modify it and stuff. I think the Gecko Gloves were great fun. I think Benji, just wanted to see them used. And they weren’t really road-tested! And he’s like, “Oh, let’s do that.” And it just happened to be on the side of the tallest building in the world. But he figures if anyone can test them it should be Ethan Hunt.
Interview with Paula Patton
How would you describe your Jane Carter character?
Patton: Agent Jane Carter is as fierce as the boys, if not fiercer. And she is someone to contend with. She’s strong, she’s smart, and she’s also a bit vulnerable. She doesn’t let a lot of people see that side of her, but she’s a vulnerable woman as well that you learn, as you watch the film, has lost someone she’s loved.
What was it like doing your big fight scene with Léa Seydoux?
Patton: Shooting the girl fight, or woman fight or catfight, as all the guys liked to call it on set, between Léa and me was really so much fun. I have many sides to my personality. I have a tough side to my personality, so I was ready to dig in to this moment and this fight. And Léa was such a great sport. She was awesome. We really had so much fun together. We rehearsed tirelessly together to make it work. And honestly, I left with a little bit of a girl crush.
And you had to play seductress in your scene with Anil Kapoor, What was that like?
Patton: Well, they put me in a very low-cut dress, but for a tactical reason: to seduce Brij Nath, who is played Anil Kapoor, who is one of the most famous actors in India. He’s an incredible actor. He’s from “Slumdog Millionaire.” And we had so much fun working together. And anyway, I’m wearing this sort of “man trap” dress, and I’m seducing him to get him in a room alone, to eventually assault him and get him the information that I need out of him.
How would you describe seeing Tom Cruise climbing the Burj Khalifa?
Patton: Here you have Tom, hanging on the side of it, at one of the tallest peaks on the building. He is doing this stunt. He’s truly doing it! It’s really mind-blowing. I remember going to work — he had to do [the stunt] over a few days — on one of the days he was doing this work on the side of the building, I remember being in the hair and makeup, and going [she makes a praying gesture], “Please, don’t let anything happen to Tom.” It’s so frightening to think of somebody just hanging on the 134th floor of the Burj. It was wild.
Interview with Josh Holloway
How would you describe you character Trevor Hanaway?
Holloway: The character I play in “Mission: Impossible,” his name is Trevor Hanaway. Cool name, by the way. And he’s an INF agent, part of the team. I’m thrilled to come to the big screen. Are you kidding me? It’s pretty awesome. It’s a fantasy for sure.
What did you think of the action scenes in “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”?
Holloway: You get to shoot things, and things blow up, and you’re jumping off of buildings. It’s insane! And hot girls. And you get to dress cool. And you’re in a movie with Tom Cruise, come on! So it’s a dream come true. Truly.
Can you talk about the international locations for “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”?
Holloway: One of the most amazing things about working on a “Mission: Impossible” is the locations. I love the way they move around the world. In my part, I was able to be in Prague, which is a fantastic city. The architecture and the beauty of that place was a real honor to get to go over there and experience that.
Interview with Léa Seydoux
“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” is your first action film. How was the experience for you?
Seydoux: It was the first time that I played in action movie. And I wasn’t used to holding a gun. So for me it was exciting but at the same time, I was a little scared about it.
What can you say about your big fight scene with Paula Patton?
Seydoux: I was really scared to fight with Paula, because Paula is a really strong woman. And so I trained and finally we did it.
How would you describe your character Sabine Moreau?
Seydoux: My character in the movie, she kills for money. She only wants.
What is it like working with “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” director Brad Bird?
Seydoux: Brad is really nice to work with. And he’s a really good director. He knows what he wants.
For more info: “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” website
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