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Tom Cruise's "Mission: Impossible" Co-Star Thandiwe Newton Said Kissing Him Was "Icky"

She also said that he was "really stressed" and "frustrated" during the 2000 movie.

The Mission: Impossible franchise has continued on for 27 years (and counting) since the release of the first movie back in 1996. But while many cast members have recurred in the series, one star might be relieved she wasn't asked back for more than one film. In 2000's Mission: Impossible 2, Thandiwe Newton was cast as thief Nyah Nordoff-Hall opposite franchise lead Tom Cruise as secret agent Ethan Hunt. And though M:I 2 was a huge success, Newton has spoken out about the difficulties of the shoot, including her issues working with the Risky Business star. She even said once that kissing Cruise was "icky." Read on to find out more.

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Newton didn't enjoy their onscreen kiss.

According to OK!, Newton didn't have anything good to say about her love scene with the Mission: Impossible star.

"Kissing Tom Cruise was slightly icky and sort of wet," she reportedly said. "I'd really go home at the end of the day actually moaning about how hot it was and how many times we had to do it."

But it wasn't all Cruise's fault. In a 2000 interview with The Guardian, Newton explained why kissing for the cameras is never particularly romantic or comfortable.

"Well, to take away the mystery and magic of what you see in the movie: you're lying there, you've got 30 people around you, prodding all bits of you to make sure that certain things aren't being seen and others look good. Even when you're kissing, you can't kiss too hard because then your face sort of spreads across the other person and it looks terrible," she said. "It's so clinical, you're thinking more about whether or not you're squashing him than kissing him. It just takes all the intimacy out, which is a good thing."

She also said that she was "scared" of Cruise.

John Woo, Tom Cruise, and Thandiwe Newton in Paris in 2000

In a 2020 interview with Vulture, Newton opened up about working with Cruise—who was also a producer on the movie—and how she found his personality on set.

"I was so scared of Tom. He was 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 shared.

She said that while they were filming one scene on a balcony—which she didn't think was "very well-written"—Cruise became "frustrated" with her performance and said that they should read each other's parts. "[I]t was the most unhelpful … I can't think of anything less revealing," she continued. "It just pushed me further into a place of terror and insecurity. It was a real shame. And bless him. And I really do mean bless him, because he was trying his damnedest."

Newton added that Cruise wasn't "horrible. It was just—he was really stressed." To explain this, she shared an anecdote about a pimple on Cruise's face. "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. It would take anyone else 48 hours to manifest a zit."

It was in this same interview that Newton said that she wasn't asked to return for any sequels.

But, Newton said that they shared some laughs, too.

Tom Cruise, Thandiwe Newton, and Russell Crowe at the London premiere of "Mission: Impossible 2" in 2000
Justin Goff\UK Press via Getty Images

In a 2010 interview with The Telegraph, Newton said that filming Mission: Impossible 2 "wasn't that much fun" but was instead "stressful," in part because director John Woo didn't speak in English on set, though she discovered later that he could have. She added that there were still some lighter moments, including during her love scene with Cruise.

"[T]here were times when Tom would be frustrated by lack of direction, and I'd be stuck in the middle," she said. "But then, there was the love scene between Tom and I, where we were in bed all day. We laughed till we cried."

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She has some regrets about the movie.

Thandiwe Newton and Tom Cruise at a Pre-BAFTA party in 2013
Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

In the 2020 interview with Vulture, Newton said that she would handle things on the Mission: Impossible 2 set differently now, including not going along with Cruise's request that they play each other's roles.

"That was more just surreal than anything," she said of the movie. "Look, creative stuff is difficult. I was so tender and sensitive. And, also, if you think about the timeline of that, it was still early in my healing, in my recovery." (Earlier in the interview, Newton had talked about suffering from sexual abuse and an eating disorder.) "I'd had good therapy. I'd realized that I was precious. If it was me now, I would want to go in and go, 'Hey!' I'd be it. You wouldn't need to play me and I play you on that balcony." She added of Cruise's pimple, "And I would have squeezed that spot. Bam!"

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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