Hayley Atwell Shares What Filming the Train Sequence in “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” Was Like

British actress Hayley Atwell exploded into the Mission: Impossible series as Grace, a woman who unwittingly turns the whole world upside-down. Hayley Atwell is one of Britain’s best-loved actors, with an impressive career across stage and screen, and her arrival in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One has shaken Ethan Hunt’s life like never before.

If you’ve seen the movie, one of the scenes that definitely stands out is the train sequence. In this exclusive interview, Hayley Atwell shares more about what the scene entailed and how she prepared for it.

Hayley Atwell Interview for Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

The train sequence in the movie looks absolutely spectacular with zero gravity, locomotives going off bridges, and more. Not surprisingly, Hayley Atwell shares that the big sequence was a lot to film. “Basically, each train carriage [in that sequence] has its own story. Me and Tom [Cruise] have to overcome the different obstacles as they come – the kitchen carriage is very different from the dining room carriage and so on,” she shares.

“There’s a whole sequence where the train is vertical and me and Tom were at the very top of it, standing on platforms and looking down the entire length of a train carriage. It was surreal. The terror on my face? There wasn’t really any acting required.”

Hayley Atwell and Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One

Photo from Paramount Pictures

With so much happening in the sequence, it’s a given that the sequence was also physically demanding for the stars. “The carriage started off horizontal and took six seconds to go entirely vertical. Tom and I were positioned at one end of the of the train carriage and on ‘action’ we had six seconds to run up a very steep incline. We were both aiming for bars that we could hold onto,” she reveals.

“We did it quite a few times. If you’ve ever done incline sprinting, you’ll know that you get tired very quickly! I think it was about the third or fourth time we did it, and afterward, we were hanging there, suspended [on their cables] while the carriage came back down to reset. And Tom looks at me and goes, ‘Are you okay?’ And I looked at him, out of it, and said, ‘I don’t know. I don’t even know what I don’t know.’ [Laughs]

He looked at me and said, ‘You might have adrenal fatigue right now. Do you need anything?’ I just looked at him and said again, ‘I don’t know.’ He said, ‘Okay, do you need some chocolate?’ I was like, ‘Yes. Yes, that is literally all I do know. I do need some chocolate.’ He called someone over and 30 seconds later this beautiful little box of chocolate arrived. I snaffled them up and went, ‘I can do it!’ Somehow it helped me dig deep and find this energy reserve I didn’t know I had. So, you know, pay me in chocolate.”

Hayley Atwell and Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One Closeup

Photo from Paramount Pictures

Simon Pegg has once pointed out how concerned Tom gets when his co-stars do stunts, and Hayley Atwell agrees that he is indeed like that. “He’s like your boxing coach in the corner of the ring. Before we’d do anything, the stunt department would break down what we were going to be asked to do, and Tom would go, ‘Okay, let’s have a look. Let me see.’ He’d check your harness for you. That’s what he’s like,” she reveals.

“Yes, he does extraordinary things, but he is so thorough in his detail of preparation. His approach is never reckless. I think what happens is that he gets to a level of competence, where he has trained and drilled and practiced over and over again, that means he can do it and it looks spontaneous. He knows how it’s living within his body.

Watching his approach is very inspiring. If I was working with someone who did those things but was either very nervous or very reckless, it would create a fear in me that would probably mean I’d hold back more. With him, you feel safe. Like you can go for it, take those big risks.”

Don’t miss watching Hayley Atwell in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.

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