Who is Rebecca Ferguson? Here are just a few facts to know about Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation's leading lady
Look Out Tom Cruise, because Rebecca Ferguson is ready to jump into action.
There’s no denying that Cruise is one of Hollywood’s most fearless actors, known for attempting some seriously dangerous feats – hanging off the side of an airplane and holding his breath for 6 minutes – but this time around, his new Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation leading lady, Rebecca Ferguson matches him stunt for stunt.
The series newcomer stunned as the mysterious operative Isla Faust in the newest installment of the movie franchise. But just who is the actress fighting along-side Cruise? Here are five things to know about Ferguson.
1. She’s a Swedish-born actress.
Ferguson, 31, grew up in Stockholm, Sweden. “It’s very organized, clean and safe,” she told PEOPLE. “I love traveling and having it as the place I come back home to.” She first started her career filming in her native country, but quickly turned international, making both English and American movies. “Usually a film set looks the same, just the culture and people change,” she said. “It’s a luxury of the job.”
2. She "forgot to be nervous" when meeting Cruise for the first time.
When Ferguson first got the call informing her that Cruise and the movie’s director Christopher McQuarrie wanted to meet with her to discuss the role, she was on the back of a camel in the Moroccan desert filming The Red Tent. The very next day, she was walking into a meeting with the two men. “I thought I was going to sit down and breathe into a paper bag or something, but bam! There [Cruise] was in front of me,” she told PEOPLE. The conversation with Cruise was so comfortable and casual that her nerves immediately went away. “He’s just a man who loves doing what he does.”
3. She did most of her own stunts in the film.
After watching closely as Cruise suited up for his own stunts and taking notes on how he prepared for each scene, Ferguson felt confident enough to forgo her stunt double and attempt her own daring moves. “I thought, I just want to try and see if I can push through this boundary of fear,” she said.
Before filming, the actress underwent a month of intense training to prepare her body for the high-action fight sequences. But perhaps her biggest accomplishment was overcoming her fear of heights. “I had vertigo and I did a 120-foot free fall,” she said. “I’m still patting myself on the shoulder for that one.”
4. She grew up watching many of the actors she works with today.
Coming full-circle in her career, Ferguson was ecstatic when she was given the opportunity to work with McQuarrie – who directed her favorite movie, The Usual Suspects. She’s also starring alongside Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, who she calls “absolutely brilliant,” in her next film, Florence Foster Jenkins.
“I’ve been so lucky and fortunate to work with many of the people who I have adored to watch,” she told PEOPLE.
5. She makes a mean meatball.
Out of all the Swedish dishes she makes for her family, meatballs are by far her favorite food to cook. “I rock [at cooking them], I really do.” She jokes that she makes them so often that whenever something important happens, she’s always busy with her “hands deep in minced meat.”
Catch Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation in theaters now.