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The Transformation Of Rebecca Ferguson From Childhood To Dune's Jessica Atreides

Since appearing in the 2013 mini-series "The White Queen," Swedish actor Rebecca Ferguson has reached mainstream notoriety. She became a Hollywood star in 2015 when she appeared as Ilsa Faust in "Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation," the fifth film in the "Mission: Impossible" franchise starring Tom Cruise.

Since then, Ferguson appeared once more in "Mission: Impossible — Fallout" and has had major roles in other standout studio movies such as "The Greatest Showman," "Doctor Sleep," and "Life." This year alone she's given two wildly different performances in separate science fiction films.

The charismatic actor continues to show versatility and physical intensity on the screen. In an interview with The Playlist, Ferguson said that she believed actors need to better understand their characters in order to enhance the story: "I always think if I took away this character from a script, my character, it doesn't matter how big or small; there should be a gap; it has to be something missing [sic] the story can't hold. Otherwise, I serve no purpose."

This is how Rebecca Ferguson went from attempting to model in Sweden to playing Lady Jessica in "Dune."

Ferguson was a Swedish soap star who broke through in The White Queen

Rebecca Ferguson began her career as a model when she was a preteen in Sweden. But Ferguson told The Guardian in 2019 that she hated it, and ended up never even booking a real job. Instead, she turned to acting at age 15, landing the lead role on a Swedish soap opera called "Nya Tider," or New Times. After the role ended, she worked in other jobs, unsure about continuing a show business career. But she eventually returned to acting, including a role in the soap "Ocean Ave." and films like "VI" and slasher "Drowning Ghost."

Ferguson received international attention, including a Golden Globe nomination when she played the title character of the 2013 BBC mini-series "The White Queen," former commoner and eventual Queen of England, Elizabeth Woodville. Elle Magazine even proclaimed "a star is born" regarding Ferguson's performance when the series aired.

And indeed, Tom Cruise reportedly hand-picked Ferguson for her first major American film after viewing the show, which led to the somewhat unknown actor co-starring in the massive "Mission: Impossible" franchise (via Daily Mirror). The tabloid quoted an anonymous source who alleged that "Tom thinks Rebecca is a future global film star."

She became a star as Ilsa Faust in the Mission: Impossible franchise

Rebecca Ferguson made her debut as the enigmatic double agent Ilsa Faust in the fifth "Mission: Impossible" film, "Rogue Nation." Faust has worked for both MI6 and the evil Syndicate in the past, eventually working with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) to bring down the latter organization. Faust's motivations and actions in the plot often seem ambiguous, but she ultimately helps Ethan and the IMF.

Ferguson was undeniably the breakout star of "Rogue Nation," with critics hailing her performance and interactions with Cruise. The Knoxville Mercury wrote that "Ferguson doesn't really steal the film, though—Cruise offers it up to her, and the chemistry between them is terrific."

Christopher McQuarrie's film ended up with nearly $700 million in the international box office (via Box Office Mojo) thanks in part to Faust's captivating performance. The actor also reprised the character for the sequel, "Mission: Impossible — Fallout," currently the biggest film in the series to date, and will evidently be back for "Mission: Impossible 7" (via The Credits).

Ferguson joined the Shining universe as Rose the Hat

After "Rogue Nation," Ferguson was cast back-to-back in several bigger Hollywood films. This included a role as Anna Watson in "The Girl on the Train" and real-life Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind in the musical "The Greatest Showman." She didn't do her own singing for the movie, however, as Loren Allred providing Lind's singing voice (via Deseret News).The actor did get to use her real accent for the Swedish mystery "The Snowman," but the movie received a disastrous release after being rushed into production (via Insider).

2019 saw Rebecca Ferguson appear in three major releases: "Doctor Sleep," "The Kid Who Would Be King," and "Men In Black: International." The films didn't do as well as expected, though "MIB: International" was a moderate success (via The Numbers). But Ferguson again received acclaim for her villainous role of Rose The Hat in "Doctor Sleep," the long-awaited sequel to the 1980 film "The Shining," based on the 2013 book of the same name from Stephen King. Brian Tallerico wrote for Roger Ebert that Ferguson "walks away with the film as a presence that's somehow both captivating and terrifying."

She plays Lady Jessica in Denis Villeneuve's Dune blockbuster

Rebecca Ferguson had two major roles in 2021, namely the Warner Bros. releases "Reminiscence" and a blockbuster adaptation of Frank Herbert's "Dune."

In "Reminiscence," a film set in the near future where memories can be relived again and again, Ferguson plays Mae, a missing nightclub singer who motivates private eye Nick (Hugh Jackman). The sci-fi noir, directed by Lisa Joy, was meant to appeal to older audiences but quickly became a box-office bomb (via Variety).

In contrast, "Dune," directed by Denis Villeneuve, is currently seeing favorable critical and audience reaction, including an 83% "Fresh" rating from critics and a 90% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as financial success. Her character Lady Jessica has dual loyalties to both House Atreides and to her Bene Gesserit sisterhood, but her main priority is protecting her son Paul (Timothée Chalamet). In an interview with Indiewire, Ferguson observed that Jessica "will do whatever she wants for her beliefs and her love. That's power, there's an enormous strength in that."

Fans can expect to see Ferguson next in both "Dune: Part 2" and "Mission: Impossible 7."