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Jonathan Rhys Meyers Talks About Mission Impossible III

Rhys Meyers Even Learned to Fly a Helicopter for His Role in MI3

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Jonathan Rhys Meyers Talks About Mission Impossible III

Jonathan Rhys Meyers as 'Declan' in Mission Impossible III.

© Paramount Pictures
Jonathan Rhys Meyers – The Get-Away Guy in Mission Impossible III: When any of the members of his IMF team need a quick escape, Rhys Meyers’ character was called into action. “Declan is a chameleon,” explained Rhys Meyers. “He speaks different languages and he’s got a lot of confidence. That’s essentially what the character is, but he’s also into boats and cars. He’s the general get-away guy.”

The Stunt Work and the Massive Scale of Mission Impossible III: Rhys Meyers does get into the action, but not nearly as much as Tom Cruise. “Yeah, but Tom has been trained by the best for 25 years, by one of the top ten stunt men in the world,” acknowledged Rhys Meyers. “He’s really comfortable doing that. The first time I was around that I thought, ‘Wow, wow, he could really hurt himself,’ but he didn’t.”

Rhys Meyers was in awe of one scene in particular. “When he gets thrown through the battered car… You know the thing about Mission Impossible is that only 5% is special effects. They did all the stuff we didn’t do.”

Although he’s been acting for more than a decade, Mission Impossible III was the largest production Rhys Meyers has been involved with to date. “You know, the scale of the movie is enormous; you don’t really know until you see the movie. When you’re making it, you don’t think, ‘Oh my gosh, this is the hugest film.’ It’s just another film you’re working on. It’s a really intimate process making a film. Regardless of how many millions of dollars you have to make the film, the process is still the same in its core. But when you see the movie, you realize you’re in a big, big action movie.”

Memories from the Set of MI3: “I really liked doing the scene with Tom when we’re in Rome and we’re screaming at each other in Italian, when we’re arguing. We changed the dialogue a little so it’d be more palatable for a younger audience. But I said some things to Tom that people don’t say to Tom - even in Italian. But it was good fun and it was our first dialogue scene together. It was kind of intense, but it really broke the ice between the two of us.”

On Training for His Role as a Secret Agent: “It’s certainly quite demanding, so I had a lot of working out before. We had to go to the gym every day because even if we’re not going to do any of these stunts, you have to look like you can at any moment. But I did have to learn how to fly a helicopter, and that was about it.”

Asked how well he can fly now, Rhys Meyers said, “I think my flying expertise is very limited. I’m not sure anyone would trust me to go up in a helicopter myself. But I learned the basics of it, and once you get the chopper off the ground, it’s pretty simple from there on. The hardest part about flying a helicopter is getting over the fact that you’re flying a helicopter and that you’re up in the air. Things look different from up there. But I haven’t been up flying since.”

Rhys Meyers is actually at the controls for a couple of minutes in the film. “A little, but very, very limited. I had a pilot with me. But those scenes where I fly through the windmills, there’s absolutely no way they’d let an actor do that. It’s too dangerous.”

Working with First Time Feature Film Director JJ Abrams: “The moment I met J.J, I knew he was going to take this movie and knock it out of the ballpark. There’s not much of a difference shooting something for TV and shooting something for film. The difference is film is in a cinema and TV is in your home. JJ has had a lot of success in television, probably the most successful guy in television, so it was very easy to make that transition from TV to film, really natural for him.”

Rhys Meyers continued. “It’s all about the work. I’d work with a great director over… You know, I’m not the kind of actor who [says], ‘I want to play this role.’ It’s more like, ‘I want to work with this director,’ regardless of what the role is because if it’s a good director, you’ll probably find a good role because it’s a decent film. But a mediocre director will always make a mediocre movie.”

He Can Definitely Keep a Secret: All the actors had to sign contracts agreeing to keep the plot a secret before they set foot on the set. Rhys Meyers found that difficult only because of how it made the journalists feel during interviews. “For me, I felt bad for people asking the questions. You know their boss sent them out saying, ‘Get me something on Mission Impossible.’ And you ask the question, and it’s just a polite, ‘I’m not going to tell you.’ Then every so often, they’d go, ‘Well, can’t you just tell us a little bit?’ I have to say, ‘You know what guys? I’m under contract and I’m not going to tell you anything.’ So you keep asking the questions and I’m just going to keep smiling. And it’s hard because I don’t want to seem rude, but it’s part of my job - just like it’s part of their job - to keep a secret.”

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