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The following contains spoilers for Mission: Impossible - Fallout.
While the more recent Mission: Impossible films have all had some vague connections to each other, it often seems the earlier movies have been forgotten. Which made one moment in Mission: Impossible - Fallout a bit surprising. It turns out the role played by Vanessa Kirby in Fallout, that of an information broker called the White Widow, is actually the daughter of another famous Vanessa from Mission: Impossible's past, that of arms dealer Max, played to perfection in the original film by Vanessa Redgrave. Our own Sean O'Connell got to speak with Vanessa Kirby about playing this unique role. It turns out that more than just the plot thread connected the two characters, as Kirby said she used Vanessa Redgrave's performance in the first film to inform her own character in Mission: Impossible - Fallout. According to Kirby...
I really wanted to watch Vanessa and see what I might have inherited from her...She was playing someone dangerous but she wasn't playing dangerous if you know what I mean, she just was. And someone in that position of power, running that kind of criminal network with all those guys with guns back at your house, you don't need to... act powerful, you just sort of are, and that was a very interesting character trait to play.
The reference is a brief one and it's entirely possible that you could miss it, but when Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt infiltrates a party being thrown by the White Widow, he first lays eyes on her while she's giving a speech. She's talking about her mother, a woman who clearly spent her life doing less than savory things, but it's clear everybody in this room knows who she's talking about. A woman with the unusual name of Max. However, if you've been watching Mission: Impossible movies from the beginning, you know Max. She was an arms dealer who was able to turn an IMF agent and tried to use him to get her hands on a list of undercover operatives. When Ethan Hunt is accused of being the bad agent, he ends up using Max in an attempt to figure out who the rogue agent actually is.
Beyond simply drawing a connection between these two characters, Mission: Impossible: Fallout also goes a step further and changes one's perspective of Max. According to the White Widow's speech, while Max certainly made her living on the wrong side of the law, she apparently did so with only good intentions. The money that she made selling weapons she used to support good causes in an attempt to turn the world away from the sorts of things she made her living doing. It puts an interesting twist on the character and makes liking her as much as you do in the first Mission: Impossible feel a little less wrong.
Check out Vanessa Kirby's full comments in the video below.