Unlike Ethan Hunt, who does stunts with his hair in the wind, Tom Cruise was not really relaxed during the filming of “Mission: Impossible II”. His partner Thandiwe Newton has also paid the price, admitting years later to have been “afraid” of the star.
Mission Impossible II : a virus, doves and lots of action
In 2000, John Woo succeeded Brian De Palma at the helm of an opus in the saga Impossible mission. A second feature film in which Tom Cruise obviously takes over the role of Ethan Hunt, who has evolved a lot since the first film. The spy is no longer the anxious young agent who hunts down his team’s assassins. Much more relaxed, the hero now hangs tens of meters above the ground without attachment, crosses the fire on a motorbike while making doves fly away and multiplies hand-to-hand combat in the sand, hair in the wind. .
In Mission: Impossible IIto which the director ofFoolproof and Flip/Face gives an ultra stylized aesthetic that completely clashes with that of the previous part (and with that of the following ones), Ethan Hunt must above all get their hands on a deadly virus called the Chimera. The latter is held by Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott), a former student of the hero who has become his sworn enemy, who keeps him secretly in a laboratory in Sydney. To recover it, Hunt can count on the help of Nyah Hall (Thandiwe Newton), Sean’s ex-girlfriend.
Ving Rhames, Richard Roxburgh, Brendan Gleeson and Anthony Hopkins round out the cast of the box-office hit, grossing more than $546 million worldwide, nearly $100 more than its predecessor. A blockbuster whose Thandiwe Newton doesn’t just have good memories.
“I was afraid of Tom”
During an interview given to vulnerability in 2020, the actress looks back on the experience Mission: Impossible II and immediately reveals that she was “afraid of Tom”, who she describes as “a very dominant individual”. She adds :
He really tries to be a good person. But the pressure… He takes a lot on himself. And I think he has this idea that only he can do everything in the best possible way.
She then mentions the “nightmarish” filming of a scene in Spain where his partner had a lot of trouble keeping calm because of the uninspiring and above all unbelievable dialogues. While John Woo – who refused to speak English during filming – was downstairs on his monitor, Thandiwe Newton and Tom Cruise were tearing themselves upstairson the balcony :
Tom wasn’t happy with what I was doing because I had the shittest lines. He was so frustrated. (…) We filmed the whole scene where I played his role, and he mine. (…) And that really didn’t help… I can’t imagine anything more revealing. It just pushed me further into a climate of terror and insecurity. It was really too bad. And I honestly think that’s a shame because he was really trying to give his best.
Despite the franchise star’s constant angst, the actress had an “extraordinary” time during the production of Mission: Impossible II and is obviously not resentful. At the end of this interview, she concludes:
He was doing his best. He wasn’t awful. But he was really too stressed.