Hayley Atwell On ‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One’, Training Process & Pressure Joining The Franchise – Interview
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is on the horizon or cliff depending on who you ask (looking at you Tom).
In the thrilling world of espionage and high-stakes action, the Mission: Impossible franchise has consistently delivered on all fronts. With the upcoming release of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, a key addition to the star-studded cast is the talented Hayley Atwell. Atwell, who brings her unique charm and versatility to the table, steals every scene she’s in. In an exclusive interview, we had the privilege to sit down with Atwell and delve into her involvement in the highly anticipated feature.
Atwell’s journey to joining the iconic Mission: Impossible franchise has been paved with remarkable performances that have cemented her status as a versatile actress. Her breakout role came in Captain America: The First Avenger, where she portrayed the courageous and tenacious Peggy Carter, earning her a dedicated fan base, while establishing her as a force to be reckoned with in the industry. Widely recognized for her portrayal of Carter in Marvel’s Agent Carter series, Atwell brought depth, intelligence, and a strong-willed spirit to the screen, captivating audiences worldwide.
As we delved into her role in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, Atwell revealed fascinating insights into her character, the challenges she faced on set and the thrill of working on such an iconic franchise.
Check out the exclusive interview with Hayley Atwell for Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One below:
I was curious about Atwell’s journey to joining the film’s cast and how she came to discover her character. Prior to delving into the specifics of her role, she shared an anecdote about how this plan had been in the works for over a decade. Atwell shared, “McQuarrie saw me in a play in the West End 10 years ago, and he took me out for dinner and said, ‘I want to write you a character. I don’t know what it is yet. But I want that thing that you do on stage.’ Cut to 10 years later, he calls me in for a screen test with Tom. And they say, ‘Look, we’re looking for a leading lady to play opposite Tom and we don’t know what that character is yet. We want to find the actress we want to work with.'”
Once Atwell got the job, she took her training seriously. She told me, “I did five months of training with Wade Eastwood and his stunt team of world class athletes, going over things like drifting, pickpocketing, unarmed combat, fight choreography, and working out where my skill set was. Then we’d watch lots of movies together to work out what the film language was going to be by watching those ’70s heist films like The Sting, Paper Moon, What’s Up Doc?“
Atwell’s impact in the MCU extends beyond her roles in Agent Carter and Captain America: The First Avenger. She voiced Captain Carter in the animated series What If…? and later portrayed the character in live-action in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. With her experience working in major franchises, I wondered if Atwell felt any specific pressure as she stepped into the seventh installment of the iconic Mission: Impossible franchise.
Atwell said, “It was a paradox in a way because I felt I was walking into something that confidently knew what it was. And so, it had total trust in its own process and huge ambition. Tom and McQ know exactly who they are, but they also know that they are always going to be learning and trying new things. And so, they really allow themselves to learn how to improve, make choices, and pivot when needed. That instilled in me a sense of confidence.”
Atwell continued with, “Because every day, there was a level of pressure. It meant that my training was so important, like I worked so hard in that training process for those five months, that it meant that by the time I came onto set, I was ready. I was fit and dynamic enough to know that I could do anything that was asked or offered. And I could do it over and over again from different angles. Not only did I have that foundational work in place, but I also had someone like Tom who’s such a consummate professional and so dedicated to delivering for the audience that he shows up every day.”
Atwell had a lot of praise for Cruise and McQuarrie and said, “He’s [Tom] so present. And I watched him and McQ and their relationship, and knew that really, it was going to be up to me how much I wrote and acted and worked myself into this story. And if there had been things I didn’t want to do or was more back footed on, then my character understandably would feel less visible and more diminished. So it was like being given this extraordinary opportunity, this platform, but then you have to be the one that steps onto that platform and goes, ‘Okay, well, I got to have something to send someone to do; otherwise, the opportunities are wasted and it’s for nothing.’ I understood what I was being offered and I really wanted to take full advantage of it.”