Small spoilers ahead. When it comes to action movies, you can't get much more action in a movie than you do with the Mission: Impossible franchise. But while most films in the genre include some sort of big romantic moment between the fight scenes, the latest M:I movie does things differently. There's no passionate kiss between characters Ethan and Ilsa after the world is saved, and Mission: Impossible — Fallout star Rebecca Ferguson can't imagine it having gone any other way.
"I think there was never really a process where I thought we should make this a couple," she says via phone, two days before the film's release. "A relationship between two people, whatever gender they are, can be so much more than the typical, the simplicity of eroticism."
Ferguson's Ilsa Faust first appeared in 2015's Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, and the Swedish actor says that what interests her most about the character is how she's both her own person and an equal for Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt. "They work so well together," Ferguson explains. "But they also will take each other down if they're standing in each other's way. Or run each other over, apparently. Literally."
Ferguson is referring to one of the movie's many chase scenes, when Ilsa is pursuing a car driven by Ethan — and, yeah, he straight up runs her over. While the 34-year-old actor did some of the movie's stunts herself, including an epic fight scene towards the end, she says that this particular situation took things a little too far. Explains Ferguson, "I started trying to take the motorbike lessons, realized it was bloody scary, so I thought, you know what I'll leave that to the world's best driver, Jenny [Tinmouth, a professional motorcycle racer]."
Ilsa, of course, survives the crash, and it's not just because the characters in Mission: Impossible tend to get through many injuries that they certainly would not in the real world. The movie needs Ilsa to stick around, as she's one of few people who can keep up with Ethan. "I think Chris [McQuarrie, the director] so highlighted the importance of having this woman being equal to Ethan," Ferguson explains. "The stronger you make the people around the protagonist, the more interesting it is."
While there's no big declaration of love between Ilsa and Ethan, there is a kiss in the movie, albeit a pretty silly one. After a top secret exchange next to the Seine, Vanessa Kirby's character, the White Window, plants one on Ethan Hunt when he's least expecting it. It seems almost like a self-aware wink at the fact that movies featuring top secret exchanges between kickass agents and mysterious women are often full of gendered cliches — just not this one.
"She's the one, I think, standing with all the power at that moment," Ferguson says in response to that scene. "That's so lovely in this film... It's just an equal film and everyone's in it for their own agenda, their own reasons. If you take any of the [four women] characters out of the film, there would be a hole in the script." (In addition to Ferguson and Kirby, the other prominent women in Fallout are played by Angela Bassett and Michelle Monaghan.)
If it's not clear, Ferguson really likes making these movies. (As evidence, she also mentions having fun playing ping pong with Simon Pegg during fight training.) So, would she do a Mission: Impossible 7? "No discussion!" she says enthusiastically. "I love everything we do ... It's a blast. I never want it to end."
That said, the actor accepts that there might not be a reason for Ilsa to return, and she's definitely not making any predictions for her. "I would never. That is like putting keys on the table or running under a ladder with a black cat," she says.
Without jinxing Ferguson with any Swedish superstitions, there probably will be another Mission: Impossible. And if Ilsa does return, hopefully she still won't be the type to start making out after taking out a terrorist mastermind. That's just not her.