Actor Thandie Newton has opened up about her experience while filming Mission: Impossible II and revealed she was ‘so scared’ of co-star Tom Cruise.
Newton, who also stars as Maeve Millay in Westworld, broached the topic after discussing Cruise’s role as a Scientologist; something the actor has long been known for.
Though many conversations about Scientology are often shrouded in mystery, apparently Cruise is ‘very generous and open’ when it comes to the topic.
During an interview with Vulture, Newton recalled receiving a ‘book with the greatest hits of Scientology’ as a Christmas gift from Cruise; ‘a bit like a Bible kind of thing’. However, while he appeared to mean well with his behaviour towards his co-star, Cruise wasn’t always successful at putting Newton at ease.
The actor went on to recall her experience on Mission: Impossible II, explaining she had never returned to the franchise because she ‘was never asked’.
I was so scared of Tom. He was a very dominant individual. He tries superhard to be a nice person. But the pressure. He takes on a lot.
Newton went on to say she got a sense Cruise felt he was the only one able to ‘do everything as best as it can be done’. She recounted one occasion that saw herself and Cruise filming a scene on a balcony looking out over Spain, explaining Cruise ‘was not happy with what [she] was doing because [she] had the sh*ttiest lines’.
The actor commented:
There was one time, we were doing this night scene, there were so many extras with pyrotechnics and you name it, and it was a scene with him and me on the balcony.
And I don’t think it was a very well-written scene. I get angry with him. We’re frustrated with each other. And we’re looking out over Spain. It wasn’t going well.
Cruise apparently tried to tell Newton how she should be acting, and got ‘so frustrated’ that he decided to take on her role in order to demonstrate it to her, saying: ‘I’ll be you. You be me.’
So we filmed the entire scene with me being him – because, believe me, I knew the lines by then – and him playing me. And it was the most unhelpful… I can’t think of anything less revealing.
It just pushed me further into a place of terror and insecurity. It was a real shame. And bless him. And I really do mean bless him, because he was trying his damnedest.
To help demonstrate the amount of pressure Cruise put on himself, Newton described how at the beginning of the night, the actor had ‘this slight red mark on his nose’. By the end of the evening, it had manifested into a ‘big whitehead’ because his ‘metabolism is so fierce’.
She added: ‘It would take anyone else 48 hours to manifest a zit. I saw it growing, and it was like the zit was me, just getting bigger and bigger.’
Cruise later called Newton, and though she expected an apology he simply revealed they were going to reshoot the scene the following week. Newton emphasised that Cruise ‘wasn’t horrible’, but just ‘really stressed’.
Though the whole experience sounds like a tough one, Newton said she had the ‘most extraordinary time’, adding: ‘That was more just surreal than anything. Look, creative stuff is difficult. I was so tender and sensitive.’
It’s unclear whether Newton would want to work alongside Cruise again if she had the chance, but she admitted that if she were to play the same role now she wouldn’t need Cruise to show her how it was done – and she would have had the courage to squeeze the spot that manifested so quickly on his nose.
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