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Pom Klementieff's Mission Impossible 7 Character Took From Sad Clowns & Monsters

Donning a pair of antennae as the alien empath Mantis in the "Guardians of the Galaxy" trilogy, Pom Klementieff couldn't have played a character with any kinder demeanor on the big screen. But now that the actor's run as Mantis is over, Klementieff is letting loose a ferocious beast of a villain opposite Tom Cruise in "Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part 1."

In the film, Klementieff plays Paris, an expert assassin who is tasked by her boss, Gabriel (Esai Morales), to kill Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and Grace (Hayley Atwell) — a mysterious woman stuck in the midst of a battle between the global terrorist and the prolific IMF agent.

Speaking with Digital Spy, Klementieff said she wanted her villainous portrayal to include the use of pantomime makeup — which presents a sad clown look — to amplify the monstrous intensity of the character.

"I wanted to bring an insanity to the character, even in the idea of the makeup that I wear in Venice with the white and the black tear drop," Klementieff told Digital Spy. "I wanted to be something eerie and strange and kind of like a monster, but that looked like a porcelain doll or a pantomime at first. It was inspired by this character Pierrot from the Commedia Dell'Arte [an early form of European theater]. I wanted to bring something that was a bit melancholic but also a little wild that's unleashed when I do the car chase."

Klementieff's character was involved in a Mission: Impossible first

The car chase scene Pom Klementieff alludes to is only one of the many ways her character, Paris, brings menace to "Dead Reckoning Part 1." She also goes head-to-head with Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt during the film, which signals a first for a "Mission: Impossible" movie. "It's the first time that Tom gets to also have a fight scene with a woman in the franchise, so it was a big deal as well," Klementieff told Digital Spy.

Klementieff's Paris, of course, is among the new characters in "Dead Reckoning Part 1," and she's slated to reprise Paris in "Part 2" in June 2024. Also speaking with Digital Spy, Vanessa Kirby — who reprises her role as black market arms dealer the White Widow from "Mission: Impossible – Fallout" — praised Klementieff for the energy she brings to the role of Paris. "You just tear it up in the franchise like no one else yet has," Kirby, looking at Klementieff, said in the Digital Spy interview.

In "Dead Reckoning – Part 1," Ethan and his venerable IMF team — Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), and Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) — search for two separate halves of an interlocking key. Only the fully assembled key will give the government the ability to control The Entity, an all-powerful artificial intelligence system that has become self-aware. Gaining control of The Entity creates another problem, though, in that several countries want it to dominate the globe with their own agendas.

"Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1" opens in theaters Wednesday, July 12.