Simon Pegg Interview For ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’
This is not just another mission. The IMF is shut down when it’s implicated in a global terrorist bombing plot. Ghost Protocol is initiated and Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his rogue new team must go undercover to clear their organization’s name. No help, no contact, off the grid. Director Brad Bird (Ratatouille, The Incredibles) has assembled a fine cast to support Tom Cruise in Paula Patton, Jeremy Renner, Josh Holloway, Simon Pegg, Vladimir Mashkov, Anil Kapoor, Léa Seydoux, Tom Wilkinson and Michael Nyqvist. Look out for ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ in cinemas December 16th in the US, and December 26th in the UK.
Benji was featured in ‘Mission Impossible 3,’ helping Ethan Hunt out from the lab. He’s now in the thick of the action as a field agent.
Simon Pegg: We had this idea that maybe after he helped Ethan navigate Shanghai and save his wife, he felt like the lab had no longer anything to offer him, and he applied to be a field agent. When we join him in ‘Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol,’ he’s actually out in the field doing exciting agent stuff. Benji brings a certain amount of light-heartedness, enthusiasm, certainly he’s a bit of a puppy (laughs), he’s very excited to work with his hero Ethan Hunt. And also he’s got the technical skills and know-how when it comes to computers and gadgets and stuff like that. I wanted Benji to be a credible agent, with the idea of him stepping out of the lab and training very hard to make the grade, you can’t just be an IMF agent without going through some pretty horrendous training I would imagine. So I worked with the stunt coordinator, Rob Alonzo, we did a lot of fight training, I hit the gym, I changed my diet – I got into it.
This movie certainly ups the ante with the action and espionage thrills, but I also really enjoyed the humour in the film….
Simon Pegg: I think it’s incredibly necessary to the enjoyment of the film, otherwise it becomes very dower and exhausting to watch. Mortal peril for 120 minutes, that’s actually pretty tiring. If you puncture that with light-heartedness you get a breather, and you get a chance of enjoying the jeopardy rather than just be terrified by it. And that’s a very, interestingly, delicate balance to strike. I think our director Brad Bird is a master of that. He knows when to be funny and when not to be, you only have to look at a film like ‘The Incredibles,’ which has moments of genuine terror, jeopardy and then warmth, he’s very very good at mixing it up. Benji’s attitude, he’s British, so he has a very dry sense of humour to everything, which a lot of us do. In any situation he’s perhaps not quite as serious as the others, that’s how he copes with fear and danger. He makes light of things.
I can imagine this film being a lot of fun to shoot, how did you find doing some of the stunts? I know you didn’t get to hang off the Burj Khalifa, you still got involved though.
Simon Pegg: (Laughs) I ran down some metal stairs, which wasn’t as easy as it sounds, because I did it 15 times (laughs). I think anyone who does anything that isn’t hanging off the tallest building in the world, they just have to shut and stop complaining (laughs). It was enormous fun, it was 7 months of my life globe-trotting and hanging out with Tom Cruise, Paula Patton, Brad Bird, Jeremy Renner, a lot of great people. Also our hugely interesting global cast in Léa Seydoux, Anil Kapoor, Vladimir Mashkov, Samuli Edelmann, Michael Nyqvist – who’s such a great actor. It was fun everyday
What was it like working alongside Tom Cruise in this film in particular?
Simon Pegg: Tom is great, it’s very easy and predictable for a fellow cast-mate to say that about someone, but I love Tom, he’s brilliant fun. It’s a real pleasure to sort of get through that thicket of nonsense that surrounds him. There’s a lot said about Tom, a lot written about Tom, it’s almost all completely untrue. When you meet the man he’s just a very dedicated, fun guy. He utterly sets the bar for the other actors. He gives it 100%, never not less than 100%. You have to match that, otherwise your gonna disappear off the screen. He’s an inspiration.
How was Brad Bird? I know you’ve said how much of a fan of his work you were before shooting ‘Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol.’
Simon Pegg: Me and Brad are very similar, we have very similar interests. We’re both kind of movie nerds, we both like the same stuff. Yes, he’s won two Oscars, yes he made ‘The Iron Giant,’ ‘Ratatouille’ and ‘The Incredibles,’ but he also ran ‘The Simpsons’ for 7 years – which is one of my favourite shows of all time. To be able to work with someone I have such an affinity with, and such a kind of kinship, it was a joy.
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