Mission: Impossible—Fallout Star Rebecca Ferguson on How Dance Helped Her Pull Off the Movie's Insane Stunts
Rebecca Ferguson does many of her own stunts in Mission: Impossible—Fallout. Courtesy Paramount
Rebecca Ferguson is indestructible. In Mission: Impossible—Fallout, the sixth and latest installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise, the Swedish actress, who plays MI6 agent Ilsa Faust, punches, pummels, kicks and spins her way out of the clutches of a series of evermore thuggish villains. Since Ferguson did many of her own stunts, it should come as no surprise that, from a very young age, she studied ballet, tap, jazz, street funk and Argentine tango. In fact, she taught tango in Sweden and still loves to dance today.
Dance Magazine caught up with Ferguson this week as she was being ferried by SUV to and from promotional interviews in Los Angeles. Mission: Impossible—Fallout opens this Friday, July 27.
Did your dance training help prepare you for the many stunts you do in the movies?
I'd say that the dance training did help me find my personal fighting style for the film. Especially the Argentine tango, where you're taught to follow the line of your spine. The training is particularly evident in my fight with Sean Harris (who plays arch villain Solomon Lane) at the end of the film. For example, even though my hands are tied around the back of a chair, I'm able to propel myself backwards into Sean. The balance and strength I needed in my legs and lower body to pull that off is a tribute to all those years of dance lessons.
Any bloopers from the fight scenes that you care to share?
No real bloopers, but there was one scene where literally the entire cast was involved in this massive fight sequence that, for narrative reasons, didn't make it into the finished film. We were all really going at it!
Did you ever think you might have a career as a dancer?
I thought I might be a ballerina. But I got bored with all the tutus! So then I switched to hip hop, but got bored with that too. So I moved on to tango, which I do still love, but by then my acting career had begun. The only dancing I do now is with ladles in my hand while cooking in the kitchen. Sometimes my 8-year-old son Isac will join me. Lately we've been rocking out to Imagine Dragons' "Friction," which is used in the film.
During filming, Tom Cruise broke his ankle during the London rooftop chase and the production went on hiatus for six weeks. Is that when you became pregnant with your second child?
Rebecca Ferguson, here with Tom Cruise, plays MI6 agent Ilsa Faust in the latest Mission: Impossible film. Courtesy Paramount
Yes. Just like Emily Blunt and Rosamund Pike did when Tom got injured on their films. I think that's the mantra for making a Tom Cruise film: Tom breaks a foot, you make a baby!
Did that change your ability to do your stunts?
Well, I realized I couldn't do everything. But I did do a lot, and fortunately I had a nice, little puke bucket tied to my waist for emergencies.
Pacific Northwest Ballet principals Rachel Foster and Jonathan Porretta took their final curtain call on June 9, 2019. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, Courtesy PNB
We all know dance careers are temporary. But this season, it feels like we're saying goodbye to more stars than usual.
Many have turned to social media to share their last curtain calls, thoughts on what it feels like to say farewell to performing, and insights into the ways that dancing has made them who they are. After years of dedicating your life to the studio and stage, the decision to stop dancing is always an emotional one. Each dancer handles it in their own way—whether that means cheekily admitting to having an existential crisis, or simply leaving with no regrets about what you did for love.
We will miss these dancers' performances, but can't wait to see what awaits each in their next chapters.
A previous lab cycle. Photo by Evan Zimmerman/MurphyMade, Courtesy RRR Creative
Choreographic incubator Broadway Dance Lab has recently been rechristened Dance Lab New York. "I found the nomenclature of 'Broadway' was actually a type of glass ceiling to the organization," says choreographer Josh Prince, who founded the nonprofit in 2012.