Tom Cruise got so stressed out during the “nightmare” filming of Mission: Impossible II that he developed a zit on his nose over the course of filming one key scene, according to his co-star Thandie Newton.
In a DGAF interview with Vulture, Newton recalled she was “scared” of Cruise making the 2000 action sequel, calling him “a very dominant individual. He tries super hard to be a nice person. But the pressure. He takes on a lot. And I think he has this sense that only he can do everything as best as it can be done.”
Newton said Cruise “wasn’t horrible” and that he was just “really stressed. I had the most extraordinary time.” But there was one particular sequence that proved “a nightmare” to film, according to Newton.
The actress recalled that during an action scene set on a balcony, Cruise was particularly unhappy with Newton’s approach to it, which she attributes to her character, thief Nyah Nordoff-Hall, having “the shittiest lines” in the script.
With director John Woo not on set — Newton said he was downstairs directing from a monitor and had, as Newton puts it, decided at the beginning of the shoot “that he didn’t speak English” — Cruise rehearsed the intense scene with her repeatedly, finally deciding to swap lines and rehearse and shoot the entire scene that way.
“So we filmed the entire scene with me being him — because, believe me, I knew the lines by then — and him playing me,” Newton recalled. “And it was the most unhelpful . . . I can’t think of anything less revealing. It just pushed me further into a place of terror and insecurity.”
Newton, however, also said, “bless him” because Cruise “was trying his damnedest” to make the scene work.
The shooting of this scene became so stressful for Cruise that he rapidly developed a distracting pimple on his nose.
“I remember at the beginning of the night, seeing this slight red mark on his nose, and by the end of the night, I kid you not — this is how his metabolism is so fierce — he had a big whitehead where that red dot was,” Newton revealed. “It would take anyone else 48 hours to manifest a zit. And it was like the zit was me, just getting bigger and bigger.”
They ended up reshooting the whole scene the following week to get exactly what Cruise wanted from Newton. “He just wanted this alpha bitch,” she said. “And I did as best as I could. It’s not the best way to get the best work out of someone.”
Unlike other actors in the series, Newton said she was never asked back for another Mission: Impossible sequel.
Twenty years later and Tom Cruise is still playing IMF agent Ethan Hunt. Mission: Impossible 7 aims to resume production soon after production was shut down due to the pandemic.