Thandie Newton doesn't have the fondest of memories about filming Mission: Impossible 2 with Tom Cruise — though she's trying to put a good face on their time together.
Back in 2000, Newton and Cruise were co-stars in the second entry of the Mission: Impossible franchise. The John Woo-directed project was a box office hit that propelled the films onto four more sequels to date.
But Newton, who portrayed "Nyah Nordoff-Hall" in Mission: Impossible 2, looks back on the film as a stressful, but still "extraordinary" experience.
Thandie Newton on stressful times with Tom Cruise on Mission: Impossible 2
The 47-year-old English actress reflected on Mission: Impossible 2 in a new interview with Vulture. "I was so scared of Tom," she recalled.
"He was a very dominant individual. He tries super hard to be a nice person. But the pressure. He takes on a lot. And I think he has this sense that only he can do everything as best as it can be done," she told the outlet.
The Westworld actress went on to describe a mismanaged scene where she and Cruise were struggling while director John Woo was away observing from a monitor.
"This scene was happening, and Tom was not happy with what I was doing because I had the shittiest lines," she said.
"And he gets so frustrated with having to try and explain that he goes, 'Let me just — let's 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.'
"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."
She added, "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."
Thandie Newton says Tom Cruise "wasn't horrible," just "really stressed"
While this all made for a distressing experience, Newton seems to attribute Cruise's intensity to a commitment to craft. "He wasn't horrible. It was just – he was really stressed," she clarified. "I had the most extraordinary time," she added.
When asked if she was ever propositioned to return for a later Mission: Impossible film, Newton also replied: "Oh, I was never asked."
Outlets have reported that Cruise has not yet offered a response to Newton's story. The Mission: Impossible franchise, meanwhile, had the production of its seventh film put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic in February. Cruise returns as "Ethan Hunt" in Mission: Impossible 7, which is expected to return to set in September 2020.