Shea Whigham On ‘Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning’ ‘If You Get The Chance To Chase Tom Cruise… You’ve Made It!’


‘Mission Impossible’ stars Shea Whigham and Greg “Tarzan” Davis opened up about their ‘Dead Reckoning Part 1″ roles as the agents in hot pursuit of Ethan Hunt, the character immortalized by Tom Cruise.

Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One production stills

Source: Courtesy / Paramount Pictures and Skydance

Shea Whigham and relative newcomer Tarzan plays Agents Griggs and Degas in Dead Reckoning Part One. While Ethan Hunt’s mission is to stop the Entity, Griggs and Degas have been assigned with the task of bringing in Hunt, who is thought to have gone rogue yet again. Through much of the movie the pair are never far behind Hunt, pursuing him on foot, by car and eventually on the train. With so many different forms of the chase onscreen we had to ask Whigham and Davis which stood out as the favorite.

“It depends on the time of day and how I’m feeling because sometimes with those night shoots in Venice I was like, ‘Oh can we get back in the car and chase him you know? Or can I tag somebody else in?” Tarzan joked.

“I love to drive, but if you get a chance as an actor to chase Tom Cruise in a movie you’ve made it in a sense yeah you know what I mean?” Whigham laughed. “A young buck like this kid he doesn’t really understand, he’s learning all this right?! ‘I said you don’t understand! This is as great as cinema gets.’ So I’d say is it a cop out to say both?”

One thing that Whigham couldn’t cop out on was taking the wheel for the car chase scenes, a scenario that Tarzan claims left him in fear for his life.

“I texted my Mama several times like, ‘Mama I love you. I just wanted to let you know where my will is,'” Tarzan recalled. “I’m not gonna lie it was really terrifying it was because he can’t see in the car while he’s driving. Not because he’s blind. The way that you have to shoot in the car with the cameras here and the camera there there was three of them. I keep saying two, there was three I believe — no four.”

“I have a picture of four cameras mounted,” Shea confirmed.

“It’s just like — ‘Oh we really have to do this? Do I have a stunt double passenger?” Tarzan continued. “I’m very impressed that he was able to do it and I’m here today talking with you.”

Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One production stills

Source: Courtesy / Paramount Pictures and Skydance

In the Mission Impossible universe of incredible ensemble talent, the lines are often blurred between villains and heroes. Asked whether they believe Griggs and Degas were the good guys or the bad buys, both Tarzan and Shea agreed there’s not really a simple answer.

“I think they had a I think they had a job to do and they were just doing the job,” Tarzan said.

“What I think is fascinating, I said to McQ [director Christopher McQuarrie] ‘I’m not interested in playing this straight down the middle.’ I knew that if I could make it personal finding Ethan, not just bringing Ethan in, and then I wanted to figure out ways to pull him [Tarzan] in as well and make it somewhat of a moral dilemma, because I was going to do anything, by any means necessary, to bring him in and I knew that there was a way that you could kind of care about these characters. That’s all McQ and Tom, that they allow these characters to flourish somewhat in a huge action film.”

By the end of the film we see some real changes in both how Briggs and Degas approach their assignment, so we were eager to ask if we should expect some changes in the characters for Dead Reckoning Part Two. The pair were on one accord in their responses that this was a question they couldn’t answer because they’re still hoping to be asked back.

“I’m hoping to be in the next film honestly,” Shea Whigham responded.

“I would I would love that. I mean my Mama would love that,” Tarzan agreed.

Word to his Mama! Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One is in theaters now.

*Editor’s Note: This interview was conducted on June 18th, prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike.