Dance in Pop Culture

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?

Courtesy Paramount

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.

The Conversation
News
Left: Misa Kuranaga in The Veritginous Thrill of Exactitude. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet. Right: Sasha Mukhamedov in Apollo. Altin Kaftira, Courtesy Dutch National Ballet.

San Francisco Ballet just announced some major news: longtime Boston Ballet star Misa Kuranaga will be joining the company as a principal dancer for the 2019-20 season, while Dutch National Ballet principal Sasha Mukhamedov will join as a soloist. They join a slew of newly promoted SFB principals and soloists, announced earlier this year.

Keep reading... Show less
News
The cast of Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise in rehearsal. Photo by Stephanie Berger, Courtesy The Shed

Akram Khan loves to dive into genres he is unfamiliar with. While his own movement vocabulary is a hybrid of kathak and contemporary dance, he has choreographed a new Giselle for English National Ballet, collaborated with flamenco artist Israel Galván and made a dance theater duet with film star Juliette Binoche. Now, in between touring Xenos, his final full-length solo, and several other projects, he's found time to tackle kung fu. Khan is part of the collaborative team behind Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise, a blockbuster musical based on themes of migration and the fight for survival, running June 22–July 27. Directed by Chen Shi-Zheng and featuring a score that remixes songs by Sia, it's part of the inaugural season of The Shed,
a new venue in New York City.

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get Dance Magazine in your inbox