Impossible’ Fan Pom Klementieff Became ‘Insane’ Baddie – IndieWire

[Editor’s note: The following interview contains light spoilers for “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One.”]

Before newly minted “Mission: Impossible” star Pom Klementieff can get started chatting about her role as the franchise’s “insane” new baddie, she’s got just one teensy bit of housekeeping to attend to: she’s got to text back her co-star Simon Pegg. The long-time series star dropped her a line a few hours ago (post-New York City premiere), and she’s just suddenly remembered she never responded to it and can’t rest until she does. Talk about cast bonding.

That out of the way, the French actress is ready to talk all about her latest role in a franchise that she has literally adored since she was a kid (she was just ten when the first film came out), which allows the Marvel Cinematic Universe star to tap into some of her wildest impulses. In “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One,” the seventh film in the beloved action series, Klementieff stars as Paris, the unhinged sidekick of Esai Morales’ Gabriel, himself tasked with serving a much higher master (all of them are, of course, obsessed with taking out Tom Cruise’s venerable spy Ethan Hunt).

In just her first outing in the series, the game-for-anything actress leaves quite a mark, as her Paris careens around (under, through, over, etc.) various European hot spots in pursuit of Ethan Hunt and pals, barely stopping to take a breath, let alone to consider the consequences of driving over a bunch of Vespas (or people), growling her way through insane stunt sequences, and basically having the time of her damn life.

Ahead, Klementieff tells IndieWire about creating her character, if Paris really is just nuts, her favorite stunt scenes, what’s next for the franchise, and the other big summer film she can’t wait to see.

The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

IndieWire: Before you were cast in this film, what was your favorite “Mission: Impossible” film? Did you have one?

Pom Klementieff: Ooh, that’s a tough one. I mean, I love “Fallout.” I love all the ones that Christopher McQuarrie has directed, to be honest with you. I think they’re so amazing and sharp, amazing pace, amazing action.

I always have a soft spot for the first one, because it was the first one and there’s something nostalgic about it. There’s also two French actors in it, Jean Reno and Emmanuelle Béart. The third one is amazing too, and Philip Seymour Hoffman is just incredible. I miss him. I mean, I miss him in movies. I miss him. I never knew him! The second one is really fun also, all the motorcycle stuff, like with the doves. There’s something a little bit more corny about it, but still so charming and so good. I love them all.

Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, Vanessa Kirby and Christopher McQuarrie on the set of Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One from Paramount Pictures and Skydance.
Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, Vanessa Kirby, and Christopher McQuarrie on the set of “Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning — Part One”Christian Black

You played a big role in shaping this character, but where did it start? What were your initial meetings like before you got the part?

I had dinner with Christopher McQuarrie, it was just a first meeting. Then a few months later, I had this screen test with Tom and McQ and they told me that they’re looking for an actor and then they build the character around the conversations that they have with the actors. They cast a person and then build the character around the person, so it’s different from other movies. Usually it’s something that is written in the script and then you have to put yourself in this character.

It was a very interesting and freeing way of working, but it can be daunting too. It’s like, “Oh my God, what is it? I don’t know.” But you just trust them. They have such incredible taste and elegance and they’re such incredible filmmakers that they know. You just get to just freestyle and dance. It’s like a dance with them.

What was your intention in building her? You said in another interview she’s “completely insane,” but it’s more than that.

The main idea was to give this sense of danger and a lot of pressure against Ethan, so it translates into something that looks insane, but she really just enjoys driving over Vespas and destroying people. It was very cathartic and very fun to play as well, because sometimes you want to do that in real life, but you’re not going to do it because you don’t want to go to jail, right?

What is fun about this character too is that it can be very quiet and [then] very violent in one split second. I think what I was looking for is to bring something very unexpected, you don’t know how she’s going to react, so it’s very scary actually. At some point in the movie, I just draw a heart on the window [before a fight scene], that was also unscripted. I came up with the idea and I thought it would be interesting. “Oh, she’s going to kill someone, but actually it’s like, oh, a cute act of love, but actually she smashed his face.” It’s always look for the unexpected.

What would you say are her motivations in life? Is it just fuck stuff up?

I think there’s a lot of suffering underneath and, obviously, no therapy. I’m kidding! There’s a lot of suffering underneath and a big feeling of betrayal, there is some loneliness too. It translates into wanting to destroy everything.

What was the first scene that you shot for the film?

Oh, my God, it was such a long time ago. I think it was in Norway, so I think it was supposed to be jumping on top of the train. You just do it. You just trust the stunt coordinator, Wade Eastwood, and you just go for it. It was so much fun to get to run on top of the moving train. I would hum the [“Mission: Impossible” them] song right before the take to just give me a boost.

Pom Klementieff in Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One from Paramount Pictures and Skydance.
Pom Klementieff in “Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning — Part One”Christian Black

What was your favorite stunt to shoot?

It was amazing to do the alley-way fight with Tom. It was very intricate, very precise, and very challenging to shoot because it’s so narrow. We’re like stuck, but it was fun.

Then there was this scene, when I fight the two guys at the same time, so it was really fun to do. But it’s hard too, because it’s harder to do kicks in movies, because it’s harder to control and to not actually hit the person and to recoil and to just have the right distance to make it real, but to not actually hurt someone.

Right, because it’s easier to pull a punch.

Yeah, it’s so much easier. But that’s why usually in action movies, they do a lot of punches, because it’s so much easier. Yeah, so it’s just snap kick, but you have to have this distance and make it sharp enough and quick enough so it looks strong, but controlled still. But I love doing that, but it’s hard.

You must have gotten banged up a bit.

You always have bruises when you do movies and action movies. Sometimes when you wear harnesses too, it just digs into your body, and so it creates bruises. But it’s fun, I like to have bruises, it’s like good memories.

Most audiences in America obviously know you from your Marvel films, did your Marvel training help you prepare for this or was it a completely different animal?

Yeah, Marvel training, but also, I’ve been always training, like stunt training and fight training. Even when I was not doing the Marvel movies, just on my “time off” or whatever that means, I’m always training and learning new skills or getting better at the things that I know already. There’s always room to improve. It’s just like a lifestyle. I mean, it sounds cheesy, but it’s just, it is!

Pom Klementieff in Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One from Paramount Pictures and Skydance.
Pom Klementieff in “Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning — Part One”Paramount Pictures and Skydance

Tom gave you skydiving lessons as a wrap gift, and you’ve gotten super into that, right?

I love learning new skills, and I love pushing myself and taking risks, so now I’m kind of hooked on skydiving. When I have some time off, I have to go back to skydive.

And you’re also into horseback riding?

Yes, I love horses. I would love to do a movie with horses. I keep asking Tom and McQ, “Can I have horses in the movie?” Fucking love horses.

Like the Marvel films, there’s a tremendous amount of hype involving the release. Is that something you think about?

Most of all, I’m just very grateful to be working with such amazing filmmakers, because it’s not just about being in a big movie, it’s about such beautiful quality and cinema. It’s filmmakers with such a beautiful vision. Then it happens to be seen by a lot of people, which is even better. But first of all, the movie’s incredible. I’ve been a fan of “Mission: Impossible” since I was a child.

Pom Klementieff in Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning - Part One from Paramount Pictures and Skydance.
Pom Klementieff in “Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning — Part One”Christian Black

What can fans possibly anticipate for “Part Two”?

I mean, the thing is Tom and McQ already shot the most incredible stunt again for the next one. So that’s going to blow your mind. But there’s not much I can tell you about the movie. I’m not really allowed!

It’s nice to keep some mystery. Nowadays, everything is so raw and there’s barely any privacy and everyone wants to know everything and just reveal everything. It’s just nice to take the time, you’ll see when you’ll see it, when it will be ready and we’ll talk about it, but [it’s nice to] just have a little bit of suspense and something a little bit like exciting, like oh, you’ll see later, be patient.

There are a lot of other really big movies coming out this summer, which one are you most excited to go see just as an audience member?

I would love to see “Oppenheimer.” I love Christopher Nolan, so I’m curious about that one.

“Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One” is now in theaters.

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