In Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1, Vanessa Kirby returns to the role of Alanna Mitsopolis, the arms-dealing White Widow that was first introduced in 2018’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Having already played the character, Kirby was far more comfortable as the White Widow this time, but there was one rather challenging aspect in Dead Reckoning.
Warning: The following contains spoilers for Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1. If you haven’t seen the film yet, you should stop reading now.
Toward the end of the film, we are treated to two White Widows. One is the genuine article, while the other is an imposter under one of the franchise’s iconic masks. Under the latex is Hayley Atwell’s character, Grace, who is working with Ethan (Tom Cruise). So not only did Kirby portray White Widow, she played Atwell’s character pretending to be Grace. “It was a gift of a challenge,” the actress told GameSpot.
“That was the confusing thing because it wasn’t playing as another character totally,” Kirby said. “It was playing another character pretending to be my character. So it was a bit of a mind bend. And I remember several times, we were like, ‘Wait, wait, wait. Is this too much like Grace?'”
One might assume finding and playing the differences between Grace and Alanna wouldn’t be so difficult, but as Kirby noted, the two only briefly interacted once. So not only is she playing someone pretending to be Alanna, that person knows practically nothing about her.
“She’s only been around Alannah or the White Widow for one short scene,” Kirby said. “So it’s not like she knows who she is, really… I ended up kind of playing a slightly more frozen version of both [characters]. Because I think she was panicking. She was having to make all these life decisions in that moment. And I was sort of doing it on her behalf.”
In the end, the sequence works well and it’s something Kirby takes pride in, especially given how close she became to Atwell during production.
“I adored Haley and we’d spent a long time kind of training together in COVID,” the actress admitted. “So I knew her well. That was a really beautiful thing. It was actually a complete gift to play someone like her and try and channel that because it was also one of the first things that we shot.”
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1 is in theaters now.
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