The Crown‘s Vanessa Kirby’s Evolving Role in Mission: Impossible – Fallout

You’d think a franchise as successful as Mission: Impossible, one that has stretched over two decades, would be hesitant to change anything about a formula that has worked so well. You’d be mistaken. What has kept Ethan Hunt (the ageless Tom Cruise) and his many impossible missions fresh is how mutable, and nimble, the storytelling has been over the years. This has especially been the case since Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Brad Bird’s inspired 2011 film, and has carried on through Christopher McQuarrie’s Rogue Nation and into the upcoming Fallout. 

For proof of this, look no further than Vanessa Kirby’s character in Fallout. Kirby is best known for playing the wild child of the royal family (wild is a relative term, in this case) in Netflix’s The Crown. As Princess Margaret, Kirby has been sensational as the younger sister to Queen Elizabeth, the one who not only didn’t get to wear the crown when her father passed, but also didn’t get to marry the man she loved (the Queen forbade it for myriad reasons, but mainly the “optics” of Margaret marrying the older Group Captain Peter Townsend, who was divorced). For Fallout, writer/director McQuarrie had a decent idea of the role he wanted Kirby to play, but he and Cruise have a history of letting great actors help mold, and possibly change, their characters based on a much more intuitive process than you might expect for such a sturdy franchise.

In an interview last year with Collider, McQuarrie had this to say about Kirby’s evolving role in the film:

“The way the movie tends to come together, there’s a pretty good idea what the story is and what the screenplay is. And we hire actors with an idea of where their character is going. But what Tom and I like to do is work with the actor and on the set start to say, “Well, I’m feeling more of this from you.” For example, Vanessa Kirby’s character in the story started as one thing, and during our conversations, not even rehearsals, but costume fittings and props and things like that we started to play with is your character this – is this a good character or is this a bad character? Is it a character we like to see being bad, or is it a character we want to see get her comeuppance? And we played with all these different shades of the character until we found just who she was. And then on the first day we shot with her, that all proved to be wrong. And Vanessa just found this beautiful tone that she played with Tom. And now I know how to write the rest of the movie.”

This could go someway to explaining how the Mission: Impossible series has maintained such vigor. In Ghost Nation, Rebecca Ferguson nearly stole the film from Cruise as the extremely capable MI6 agent Isla Faust. Ferguson returns, joining Cruise, Kirby, and a stellar cast that includes Simon Pegg, Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett, Ving Rhames, Michelle Monaghan, Sean Harris, and Alec Baldwin.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout opens in theaters on July 27th. Check out the incredible trailer here.

Here’s the film’s official synopsis:

The best intentions often come back to haunt you. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT finds Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his IMF team (Alec Baldwin, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames) along with some familiar allies (Rebecca Ferguson, Michelle Monaghan) in a race against time after a mission gone wrong. Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett, and Vanessa Kirby also join the dynamic cast with filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie returning to the helm.

Featured image: Vanessa Kirby is in ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout.’ Courtesy Paramount Pictures. 


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The Credits is an online magazine that tells the story behind the story to celebrate our large and diverse creative community. Focusing on profiles of below-the-line filmmakers, The Credits celebrates the often uncelebrated individuals who are indispensable to the films and TV shows we love.