Michelle Monaghan had a breakthrough year last year, making a name for herself with roles in "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," "North Country" and "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang." Now she's back in theaters playing Tom Cruise's love interest in "Mission: Impossible III."
"It's been a pretty incredible year," Monaghan
Monaghan said fate was smiling on her when she landed her 'Mission: Impossible III' role.
"(Mission: Impossible III Director J.J. Abrams) saw an audition tape that I did for "Constantine," which ironically was a film that I was cut out of.
"So, when he called, on some level, I was feeling a little bit validated, I must say. And at the end of the meeting, he asked me to audition with Tom Cruise. Of course I jumped at the chance, then immediately started shaking in my boots. But the three of us auditioned, and I got the job.
"(Cruise) was actually doing a re-shoot for 'War of the Worlds' so, in that one day, I met Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise. I was so nervous.
"And, immediately when you meet Tom, he just kind of throws your — all your fears and throws them out the window. … He's just such a super guy. Thank God, because I was able to give a decent audition and they hired me."
Monaghan also got to work with Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Mission: Impossible III."
She said she noticed "just how committed (Cruise and Hoffman) are, really, to each role that they do. These are actors that I've admired for a long time, been fans of their work, and they always really just go the extra mile, and create unique characters. … They really are intense."
Asked about her kissing scenes with Cruise, Monaghan readily conceded they were "not bad. Could have been much worse, I suppose!"
She said she doesn't think Cruise and his real-life love, Katie Holmes, had met when "Mission: Impossible III" began filming, but she did meet Holmes before it ended.
Monaghan hails from Winthrop, Iowa, population 762. She said there's a theater 45 minutes to an hour away, and a big convoy is heading there this weekend to see their homegrown star in "Mission: Impossible III."
"Everyone's so thrilled for me!" she told Storm.
Next up for Monaghan? A film called "Gone, Baby, Gone," which marks Ben Affleck's directorial debut: "I'll be starring alongside Ed Harris and Casey Affleck."