In the latest Mission Impossible installment, Dead Reckoning Part One, Hayley Atwell shines as a highlight amidst a stellar cast, joining the famed franchise beside Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt. With action scenes under her belt from her time as Peggy Carter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Atwell is now tackling a new challenge with her first 100 days on the Mission set.
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In an interview with Total Film, Atwell shared an intriguing behind-the-scenes detail: for more than three months, she didn’t speak a single line on camera. As an actress, this contrasted sharply with her usual approach, but director Christopher McQuarrie’s focus on non-verbal communication enhanced not only her performance, but also her on-screen chemistry with Cruise.
“As a theatre artist, I’m accustomed to using words extensively,” Atwell noted. “Speech has been my primary tool since my drama school days and studying classic plays. Entering a franchise like this and devoting 100 days solely to physical gestures and movements, I wondered, ‘Am I conveying enough?’ since my comfort zone has always been vocal expression.”
Image via Paramount
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Atwell went on to explain that she was given the opportunity to review scene playbacks and collaborate with Cruise and McQuarrie to refine their visions. This, she expressed, was an exciting prospect that further elevated her performance.
“The playback revealed a lively presence. The physical embodiment originated from my chemistry with Tom and the preparation with a phenomenal stunt team,” said Atwell. “You sense her energy and emotion without a spoken word. It feels like being part of a workshop or masterclass in pure cinematic creation. This, to me, was the space for all my conversations and queries. For the camera, I discovered a new, non-vocal language.”
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So far, Dead Reckoning Part One has garnered enthusiastic reviews, earning it – as of today – the highest rating of Tom Cruise’s career, with a staggering 98% positive on Rotten Tomatoes. Cruise’s dedication to stunts is lauded as usual, but Ross Bonaime from FilmSweep also praised the performances of the female cast members, including Atwell, as the real standouts.
Dead Reckoning Part One premieres in the United States on July 12. Watch our interview with Atwell at the film’s Rome premiere below.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hayley Atwell ‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One’
How long did Hayley Atwell go without speaking during the shooting of ‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One’?
Hayley Atwell went over three months without uttering a single line of dialogue on camera during the shooting of ‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One’.
How did Hayley Atwell adapt to the emphasis on body language in the film?
Although accustomed to using language extensively as a theater actress, Hayley Atwell embraced the director’s emphasis on physical behavior and gestures. She found new ways to express herself without relying on vocalization.
What did Hayley Atwell do between takes to communicate and seek clarification?
Between takes, Hayley Atwell engaged in conversations and posed questions to the director and her co-star, Tom Cruise. She also had the opportunity to watch playback of scenes, enabling her to enhance her performances further.
How has ‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One’ been received by critics?
The movie has received rave reviews from critics, and as of now, it holds the highest rating of Tom Cruise’s career at 98% positive on Rotten Tomatoes. The performances of the women in the cast, including Hayley Atwell, have been particularly praised.