Mission Impossible 7’s Hayley Atwell Teases Her “Cat-And-Mouse” Relationship With Tom Cruise

As the nature of her character continues to be a mystery, Hayley Atwell teases the cat-and-mouse dynamic between her Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One character and Tom Cruise. The latest installment in the hit action franchise will see Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and his IMF team racing to get their hands on an AI weapon before a villain from his past can get it. Atwell is one of many new faces joining the Mission: Impossible franchise with Dead Reckoning Part One, others of whom include Esai Morales, Pom Klementieff and Shea Whigham.


Ahead of the movie’s highly anticipated release, Screen Rant spoke exclusively with Hayley Atwell to discuss Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One. In discussing her relationship with Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, the actor teased the two have a “cat-and-mouse” dynamic and even that they share a similar origin story. See what Atwell shared below:

Grace, I would say, is consistently inconsistent. A lone wolf. She’s hyper-vigilant. She’s out for herself out of necessity; because she’s had to be. It’s how she’s survived. She’s learned skills on the job, as opposed to having had any real formal training, which means she can be quite scrappy and can also duck and dive and adapt to situations. And, of course, that shares an origin story with Ethan Hunt who kind of has a similar background. They are sort of two sides of the same coin; there’s a kind of cat-and-mouse feel to them — like siblings in a way. And that creates a kind of exasperation between them that becomes also very endearing and very funny.

How Atwell’s Dead Reckoning Character Subverts A Mission: Impossible Tradition

Ethan Hunt and Grace in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

Atwell’s tease of a “cat-and-mouse” relationship between Ethan and Grace in Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One may initially sound like a continuation of a franchise tradition in regard to its female characters. Since the original Mission: Impossible movie, the franchise has frequently toyed with the concept of the femme fatale, with Emmanuelle Béart’s Claire remaining one of the most memorable for her later reveal that she was a villain all along with her husband, Jon Voight’s Jim.

The first sequel, Mission: Impossible 2, continued this trend with Thandiwe Newton’s Nyah, which spotlighted more of a romantic relationship between the pair rather than solely one of survival. Mission: Impossible 3, however, changed this trend by establishing Ethan in the process of settling down with Michelle Monaghan’s Julia and acting as a mentor figure to both Keri Russell’s Lindsey and Maggie Q’s Zhen. With Ethan coming out of retirement for the following sequels, this tradition returned with Léa Seydoux’s Ghost Protocol character and Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa.

Related: 5 Missing Characters Who Should Return In Mission: Impossible 8

Interestingly, the latter character has become more of a romantic figure for Ethan heading into Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One, with the trailers for the new sequel still showing them together along with working together. Writer/director Christopher McQuarrie has seemingly downplayed the likelihood of Ilsa and Ethan going the distance due to the nature of their work, though with Atwell describing Grace and Ethan’s relationship as more of siblings than romantic, it does at least break the franchise’s trend of femme fatales for Ethan to flirt with, and instead give him another equal to work with.

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