Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Almost Gave Simon Pegg A Really Dark Character Moment

The proposed darkness in Benji was to rear its head in the aforementioned psychometric test sequence. As that is a sequence that explicitly looks to expose Benji’s thoughts and fears, it only makes sense that the evil A.I. called “The Entity” would want to find the darkness inside him. On a recent episode of The Empire Podcast, Simon Pegg recalled the question that would have said something truly sad about Benji:

“The bomb asked Benji if he’s ever thought about hurting himself or others. It’s like a classic question that you ask people in a psychiatric exam, right? And Benji says ‘No,’ and the bomb tells him that he’s lied. So Benji has to admit that he’s kind of self-harmed, and the audience f***ing hated the idea … So we changed the question to, ‘Are you afraid of death?’ Which actually came up with a great moment, when he says, ‘Who isn’t?!'”

Beyond the fact that the image of Benji self-harming is immensely troubling, what bothers me most about it is that I don’t believe it’s in keeping with the character. Benji is an incredibly anxious person, but he’s not a depressive one. Nothing about his behavior in any of these movies, including “Dead Reckoning Part One,” signals a dissatisfaction with himself or his circumstances. He even explicitly states to Hayley Atwell’s Grace later in the film that he’s there because he wants to be.

If it was not an admission of self-harm but a desire to hurt others, that also doesn’t fit with Benji’s character, someone with a deep well of love for people. He wants to save the world and his friends, not take out his aggression on an enemy. The replacement question is far better suited to Benji and actually does reach his core.

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