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Hannah Waddingham appeared on the Christmas episode of ITV’s “James Martin’s Saturday Morning” (via The Independent) and revealed she’s ready to defend Tom Cruise against his critics after working with the Oscar nominee on the upcoming “Mission: Impossible 8.” It was announced in March that the “Ted Lasso” Emmy winner was joining Cruise and the “Mission: Impossible” gang in the eighth installment, which was originally designed as the second part to “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.”

Waddingham’s “Mission: Impossible 8” character has not yet been revealed, but she said she spent five intense days with Cruise filming the action tentpole on the USS George H.W. Bush fighter carrier. She revealed she still has “another kind of main scene” to shoot with Cruise once production restarts.

“I have to say, I have a real problem with anybody that goes at [Tom Cruise] now,” Waddingham said. “Having met him and having spent five days intensely…He is without doubt one of the loveliest and encouraging, positive and inspiring human beings I have ever met. Isn’t he gorgeous? I have no time for anyone saying anything about him.”

Waddingham told SiriusXM earlier this month that she grew up on boats because her father was in the river police her entire life, so she was more than eager to film her “Mission: Impossible 8” scenes while on an actual fighter carrier. “I know this world so much,” she remembered saying to Cruise and the film’s director, Christopher McQuarrie. “I’ve got this down. Don’t worry. I’m used to brushing my teeth in a tiny little cabin.”

While “Mission: Impossible 8” was supposed to open in theaters on June 28, 2024, Paramount Pictures recently delayed the film by nearly a year to May 23, 2025, due to strike-related production delays.

“Dead Reckoning Part One” opened in theaters just before the global phenomenon of “Barbenheimer.” Despite positive reviews and goodwill from Cruise’s last blockbuster sensation, “Top Gun: Maverick,” the tentpole fell short of box office expectations with $567 million globally. “Part One” hardly played on Imax screens because Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” dominated the premium format through the end of the summer. That won’t be the case with the eighth “Mission” movie, which will get a three-week exclusive Imax run.

Before Waddingham stars in “Mission: Impossible 8,” she’ll appear opposite Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt in the action comedy “The Fall Guy,” opening May 3 from Universal Pictures.

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