Thandie Newton recalled a “nightmare” day on the set of Mission Impossible 2 in 2000, in a candid interview. The Westworld actress, 47, remembered being “so scared” of co-star Tom Cruise — the main star of the spy series — because of his perfectionist nature while filming. Thandie played the love interest, Nyah Nordoff-Hall, opposite Tom’s IMF secret spy Ethan Hunt.
“I was so scared of Tom,” Thandie admitted in the Monday, July 6, issue of New York magazine. “He was a very dominant individual. He tries super hard to be a nice person. But the pressure. He takes on a lot,” she said of the Top Gun actor. “And I think he has this sense that only he can do everything as best as it can be done.”
Thandie went on to explain one scene in particular, in which she was filming with Tom, 58, on a balcony in Spain. “Tom was not happy with what I was doing because I had the sh–tiest lines,” the actress recalled. “And he gets so frustrated with having to try and explain that he goes, ‘Let me just — lets just go do it. Let’s just rehearse on-camera.’ So we rehearsed and they recorded it, and then he goes, ‘I’ll be you. You be me,” she explained. “So, we filmed the entire scene with me being him — because, believe me, I knew the lines by then — and him playing me.”
Thandie went on to admit that she found Tom to be “the most unhelpful,” in trying to assist her with the scene. “It just pushed me further into a place of terror and insecurity. It was a real shame,” she admitted, noting, “bless him,” about Tom, who “was trying his damnedest.”
On the same day she struggled with the Mission Impossible 2 scene, Thandie explained to the publication that she phoned friend, Jonathan Demme to share what had happened. Jonathan previously directed Thandie in the 2002 mystery film, Beloved and The Truth About Charlie, which also starred Mark Wahlberg.
“As I was describing it, it was clear that I thought I was the big f–king problem. And Jonathan was like, ‘Thandie, shame on you for not backing yourself.’ He was really sweet,” the actress remembered. “And then Tom called and I thought, ‘Oh, this is it. The apology.’ — No, he was just like, ‘We’re going to reshoot this next week.’ I’m like, ‘Way brilliant,'” she recalled.
“And the next time we shot it, I went in there and I just basically manifested all the — because I realized what he wanted. He just wanted this alpha bitch,” Thandie said. “And I did as best as I could. It’s not the best way to get the best work out of someone.”
Looking back on her experience working with Tom, Thandie told the mag that she didn’t think the actor was “horrible” at the time. “He was really stressed,” she said, noting that if the situation occurred today, she would’ve handled things much differently.
“I was so tender and sensitive,” she said of working on the 2000 film. “If it was me now, I would want to go in and go, ‘Hey!’ I’d be it. You wouldn’t need to play me and I play you on that balcony. And I would have squeezed that spot. Bam!”
Thandie also mentioned that she “was never asked” to return for the next installment, Mission: Impossible III in 2006. HollywoodLife reached out to a representative for Tom Cruise for comment.