DECEMBER 2015 ;e Costco Connection 55
arts & entertainment
By Steve Fisher
MANY TELEVISION SHOWS have been
adapted to the big screen to create a “tentpole,”
defined by Merriam-Webster as “a big-budget
movie whose earnings are expected to compensate the studio for its less profitable movies.” Not all succeed, but Mission: Impossible,
spawned by the old TV series of the 1960s
and ’70s, has proven a potent success for Paramount, thanks to intriguing characters, exotic
settings and high-octane action.
Tom Cruise is front and center as the star
of the franchise, playing Ethan Hunt, the lead
agent of the IMF (Impossible Mission Force),
but the IMF is a team. One of the key members
is Benji Dunn, a tech expert, played by Simon
Pegg, perhaps best known for his British com-edies Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, as well
as for playing Scotty in the current Star Trek
film series. The Connection interviewed Pegg
via email from the set of the next Star Trek film
in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Costco Connection: What first attracted you to Mission: Impossible?
Simon Pegg: J.J. Abrams called and
asked me if I’d come and do a few days on
Mission: Impossible III. It was a complete surprise. My response was simple and quick:
“Where do I sign?”
CC: How would you describe Benji?
SP: Benji is an enthusiast. He loves being
a spy and can’t quite believe he gets to do the
things he does. In that respect, he’s just like
me. Benji’s relationship with Ethan is similar
to mine and Tom’s. He spends most of the
time thinking, “I’m working with Ethan
CC: How has the character evolved over
the three films?
SP: He’s grown as a person and an agent.
He’s become more capable, more experienced.
He’s evolved, but he’s essentially the same guy.
It’s been a very fun journey to play.
CC: To what degree do you do your
SP: I do everything they let me do. I
never opt out of a stunt if I don’t have to. Our
stunt team always wants us to do as much as
possible, and one thing I learned from Tom is
to never back down from a stunt. It always
looks better if it’s you.;
CC: What is it like to work with Tom
Cruise and writer-director Christopher
SP: Tom and Chris are an amazing team.
They think on the same wavelength and communicate in a way that’s fast and effective.
They’re also open to ideas and happy to col-
laborate. It has to be about the script, and a
good writer will know when to incorporate
suggestions and also when to politely decline.
Chris and Tom are great at that.
CC: What would you like to do that you
haven’t been able to do yet?
SP: I’d love to do some drama. I often see
myself referred to as a comic or comedian,
and I’m not. I did stand-up for a few years
after I graduated from university and have
specialized in comedy, but much of my training was in serious theater. I’d like to flex those
muscles at some point.
CC: What kind of films do you personally like to watch?
SP: Good ones. Bad films make me
angry. The amount of work, energy, sweat and
blood it takes to make a movie. It breaks my
heart to see it squandered.
CC: How long do you see MI going?
SP: As long as there are fresh ideas and
ingenious directors to give them vision, it’s a
story that can keep going. There will always
be crazy, selfish maniacs who want to tear
the world down. We need the IMF to give us
The Costco Connection
Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation is available in Blu-ray/Digital HD (Item #985656) and
Mission: Impossible—The 5 Movie Collection
in Blu-ray/Digital HD (Item #1022037) at all
Costcos on 12/15.
Simon Pegg is right-hand
man to Tom Cruise in
A not so
In our digital editions
Click here for a short clip from
Nation. (See page 13 for details.)