Hayley Atwell Recalls A ‘Pinch Me Moment’ Filming M:I With Tom Cruise, And It Involves A Silly Blurt Out And A Wonderful Response From The Star

We’ve all had that feeling: when things are going really well in your life, you’re able to step outside your own body and assess the awesomeness of the whole situation in its totality. Having this kind of positive revelation is wonderful… though it can also lead to the unexpected blurting out of sentiment. This is a circumstance to which Hayley Atwell can evidently relate, as she had such a moment with Tom Cruise during the making of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning.

Atwell spoke about the experience during an interview this past summer with the Netherlands magazine Numéro. She was asked about what it was like working with one of the biggest movie stars in history, and she likened it to a dream – recalling a time when she was with Cruise and couldn’t stop herself from describing aloud the excellence of her reality. And even better than what she blurted was how he responded. Said the actress,

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I had many pinch me moments. I remember being in a car with him in Rome, we’d been working for months, I’d known him for over a year and yet I looked at him and went, ‘I’m in a Tom Cruise film.’ And he was like, ‘I know. And I’m in a film with Hayley Atwell.’

Perhaps it’s because it’s a moment between two movie stars, but that’s a moment that is ridiculously easy to imagine cinematically. 

Hayley Atwell noted that she doesn’t let herself get too distracted by being a part of a massive franchise or working with a popular star, but she lauded what Cruise brought to their collaboration:

He was so sweet, he’s so generous. I’m very focused with my work ethic. I come in and I have moments of going, ‘Oh, this is amazing,’ but I know that I have work to do, so I have to be focused so that I do a good job. I’m wanting to create the best kind of role and film that I can.

As expressed in her self-described “pinch me” moment, it’s certainly not lost on Hayley Atwell that she is working with one of the greatest stars to contribute to the craft. Playing Grace in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, she was able to see first hand just how much of himself he puts into what he does, both in front of the camera and behind it. She continued,

Working with such a legendary actor, there’s no one like him and there won’t be again. He is one of the great movie stars of all time. And watching his commitment and his kindness, he’s extraordinarily polite and well mannered and professional. He’s engaged in every aspect of the filmmaking process. I always felt that the door was always open for me to discuss things with him. He really likes seeing people thrive and he really appreciates when he sees people commit to the process of working. And that only encourages me to try new things.

Tom Cruise & Haley Atwell

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Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One was unleashed in theaters this past summer and is now available for digital rental, but as the title implies, only half of the story has been told. Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt is still leading an effort to stop a dangerous artificial intelligence from essentially taking over the world, and there’s a lot of work to still be done. In addition to Hayley Atwell, the Mission: Impossible 8 cast also includes  Esai Morales, Vanessa Kirby, Simon Pegg, and Ving Rhames.

Following some delays, we still have a while to wait before we get to see Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two, as Paramount Pictures has announced a May 23, 2025 release date. That being said, there are a whole lot of exciting blockbusters set to come out in the next 12 months, and you can learn about all of them with our 2024 Movie Release Calendar.


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