Impossible Star Opens Up About Alcoholism Struggles While Filming

May 19, 2023

Simon Pegg, who first played Benji Dunn in Mission: Impossible III reveals that he was struggling with alcoholism while filming his debut franchise outing. Released in 2006, Mission: Impossible III is the only entry in the franchise to be directed by J.J. Abrams. The film introduces Pegg, widely known at that point for his starring role in Shaun of the Dead, as Benji, one of the IMF’s most talented tech whizzes who later becomes more of a field operative in subsequent entries.

In a recent interview on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs (via The Guardian), Pegg recalls hiding his alcoholism from others on set while filming movies in the early 2000s, including Mission: Impossible III. The actor attributes the affliction to mental health struggles but reveals that the birth of his daughter in 2009 forced him to confront his addiction and seek help. Check out Pegg’s comments regarding this period of his life below:

“You become very sneaky when you have something like that in your life. You learn how to do it without anyone noticing because it takes over. It wants to sustain itself and it will do everything it can to not be stopped. But eventually it just gets to a point when it can’t be hidden, and that’s when, thankfully, I was able to pull out of the dive.”

Related: Why Mission: Impossible III Has The Franchise’s Lowest Box Office

Benji Is Now A Core Fixture Of The Mission: Impossible Franchise

When he is introduced in Mission: Impossible III, Benji is a desk-bound worker at the IMF, helping Cruise to recover data from destroyed laptops. Later in the film, however, Benji becomes one of Hunt’s only allies at the IMF, aiding the rogue agent as he attempts to avoid apprehension by his former agency so that he can rescue his wife. While Benji remains firmly a technical, computer-bound IMF employee in Mission: Impossible III, subsequent entries make the character even more important.

In 2011’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Benji is one member of Hunt’s elite crew of agents who attempt to stop a terrorist following the shuttering of the IMF. The sequel sees Benji working in the field for the first time, which is emblematic of his evolving role in future movies. In both Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Benji plays a much more central role in the action, getting his own fight scenes and big moments.

Benji is next set to return in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, the first of two films that will seemingly conclude the long-running franchise. When Benji was first introduced in Mission: Impossible III, he very easily could have been a one-and-done type of character, but the franchise has thankfully made him a core member of Hunt’s team and a crucial ally with a unique set of skills.

Source: BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs (via The Guardian)

Key Release Dates Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

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