Actress Rebecca Ferguson has spoken about the differences between the fight choreography of Mission: Impossible 7 and Dune. Nearly 40 years after David Lynch adapted Frank Herbert’s Dune novels, Denis Villeneuve’s (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) big-budget sci-fi is one of the most anticipated films of 2021. The hype surrounding Dune is thanks in large part to the film’s star-studded ensemble cast, which includes Ferguson, Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, David Dastmalchian, Jason Momoa, and Javier Bardem, to name just a few.
Ferguson is perhaps best known for playing the fearsome British spy Ilsa Faust alongside Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt in the Mission: Impossible films. In Dune, she plays another strong, action-savvy character, Lady Jessica, who is the mother of the protagonist Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet). In the novel, Lady Jessica is a supporting character, but Villeneuve has expanded Ferguson’s role into that of a warrior priestess. In the upcoming film, she is as much a mother as she is a trainer who molds Paul into a deadly weapon. However, while she is violent, Lady Jessica’s tactics are much different than those of Ilsa Faust.
In a recent interview with EW, Ferguson spoke about her experience filming Dune and the Mission: Impossible films. The actress discussed what is was like to be on the set of two high-budget action blockbusters and the differences between the “amazing” action sequences of both films. She compared fighting on Arrakis to fighting on Earth as a secret agent, saying they operate “at different levels.” Read what she had to say below:
“I love the fighting we do in Mission … It’s hard, it’s beautiful, it’s amazing to do, but it’s really choreographed. The fighting in Dune is for necessity. It’s not an elongated fighting sequence; it’s a quick disarm to prove your point or prove your power. So everything is at such different levels than what I’m used to.”
The first reviews from the Venice Film Festival are praising Villeneuve’s Dune as a visual masterpiece, which Ferguson said didn’t require as much green screen work as one might think. While the Mission: Impossible franchise relies on thrilling, fast-paced, and death-defying action sequences, the first Dune film seems more focused on its setting and world-building. What’s more, the characters in Dune have supernatural powers and don’t always have to use their fists, so less physical choreography was needed. That is particularly true for characters like Lady Jessica, who is part of a Sisterhood whose members have powers such as mind-reading. However, characters like Jason Momoa’s Duncan Idaho, a skilled swordsman, will certainly engage in some elongated fight sequences.
After numerous COVID-19-related delays, Dune is set to release in theaters and on HBO Max in October. The film isn’t the only action-packed blockbuster that Ferguson is involved in, however. She also recently wrapped filming on Mission: Impossible 7, which is scheduled to release next year, and she’ll also appear in Mission: Impossible 8 when it hits theaters in 2023. Right now, Ferguson can be seen playing a very different kind of femme fatale in Reminiscence opposite Hugh Jackman. This line-up of action flicks speaks to Ferguson’s impressive acting range and choreography skills, which will no doubt be on full display when Dune finally hits screens on October 21.