Ystads Allehanda (2015)

Rebecca Ferguson: It’s Exciting and Terrifying

October 15, 2015 / Written by Emilia Soelund

  This article was originally written in Swedish. It appeared in the local newspaper “Ystads Allehanda”, published in Ystad, Sweden.

During the past year, Simrishamn’s Rebecca Ferguson has starred opposite Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant. Now she is preparing herself for a new role, where she’ll play an American. We have talked to the actress who has been nominated for Ystad Allehanda’s Culture Prize.

– I haven’t been nominated for many awards. Just once, for a Golden Globe. I don’t like contests, but it feels good that someone has looked at my work and found it to be worth the price.

How is your life like now?
– I move between London and Simrishamn. I have a son, so I would love to be at home as much as I can, but sometimes it’s just not possible. The filming of Mission: Impossible lasted eight months and we worked 17 hours a day. It’s tough, but I’m very happy about the jobs I get. So when Stephen Frears asks if I want to play against Meryl Streep in a film set in the 40’s, then there is no doubt that I will say yes.

What are you looking for when choosing roles?

– It would be a warning sign for me if I did choose a certain type of roles. I want to do different things. Mission: Impossible was a great contemporary film, while the next one, The Girl on the Train with Emily Blunt, is something else entirely. I want to work on new characters and do things where I don’t feel “safe”. It’s easy to play a 30 year-old Swedish girl, but how does a realtor from Long Island think?

Don’t you get nervous when playing against stars like Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise?

– Well, sometimes you feel nervous when meeting someone for the first time, but the stars are often confident in themselves. Tom is such a very friendly and warm person without any hierarchy mindset.

How do you feel about the attention that comes with the job?

– I am not aware of the attention. When I go to ICA (local grocery store) in my sweatpants, it’s perhaps one of the ladies there who says that they have seen me on the cover, but usually nobody recognize me, to be honest. It’s the same thing when I travel. It’s strange, but nice too. I don’t think that Swedes receive as much attention and, I live a pretty modest life.

How much did you train before doing Mission: Impossible?

– I have always eaten okay and liked to exercise. I dive and devote myself to climbing. Still, I got to work hard to build up my strength and technique. I practiced six hours a day, six days a week, for a month. They gave me a tailored diet and exercise programs with pilates.

I’m guessing you didn’t continue with the program after filming ended?

– Haha, no. When we finished, I sent a picture to Tom [Cruise] where I ate a bag of M&M Peanuts.

What is the toughest scene you’ve ever done?

– Many people think the visually complex scenes were the most difficult and yes, it was hard to jump from a roof, because I’m afraid of heights, but the truly difficult scenes are short and subtle. When you want to find something special in the facial expression, but can’t do it, even after shooting multiple times, then you can feel absolutely useless.

You got your first major movie role from Richard Hobert after a meeting at a flea market in Simrishamn. Do you feel you have ended up where you are now by chance?

– Much of my life feels like a coincidence, although I am not passive. I have not gone to any film school or grew up with dreams of becoming an actor. I was just going to school, thinking of what I would do. I declined to participate in the TV series Nya Tider several times. It was one thing to be the class clown, but I was not attracted to the attention.

So what in the actor’s profession did you fall for?

– I think it’s about throwing yourself into a mess and to scare yourself. The happiness and fear all at once. I feel that I’m truly living a bit more when I work. Now I’m about to move to New York to film The Girl in the Train, in which I play an American, something I’ve never done before. I am terrified.

© 2015 Ystads Allehanda