Pom Klementieff had just checked into her hotel room in London, and she was still relishing the butter chicken she had consumed an hour ago.
“It’s summertime, but it feels like winter — because London is always like that,” she said in a call last month. “So I’m like, ‘OK, I need Indian food.’”
The 37-year-old actress, known for her fan-favorite turn as the empathetic alien Mantis in Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Avengers” films, was on the second city of the world promotional tour for her next superventure, “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One,” in which she plays an assassin hunting Tom Cruise’s character.
“I love playing a villain,” Klementieff, chipper and candid, said of her character, Paris, who was based on a male character from the original TV series that inspired the “Mission: Impossible” films. “There’s something cathartic and a little bit insane about it that’s really enjoyable.”
The seventh “Mission: Impossible” film allowed her to exercise her stuntwork chops, like her boxing and taekwondo training, that had lain a bit dormant during her turn in the Marvel films.
“Mantis isn’t the most physical fighter,” she said. “So this was fun to get to play a rebel who loves killing, fighting, chasing.”
Klementieff discussed how Tom Cruise got her hooked on skydiving, why “Gone Girl” is her comfort watch and why she’s been obsessed with Jessica Chastain’s performance in “A Doll’s House” on Broadway. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
I love watching it on Valentine’s Day when I’m single, or on Christmas when I’m a little low because of family stuff. It’s my feel-good movie.
I taught myself to ride in the streets and the countryside in France. But now I’m actually doing proper training and I love it. I’m learning how to do a little skid, doing stoppies — I want to learn how to do a wheelie next!
Doing My Nails
I love when nail polish has a name that makes me laugh — Natural Connection, Sexy Divide. Usually I do the same color on every nail, or sometimes I do lilac on one hand but with the ring finger green, and then the other hand I do green with a lilac ring finger.
I found a ranch in Colorado that I love to go to — it’s my happy place. I have a horse there I love called Mister T. He’s amazing. He goes so fast, but he listens, too. There are dunes so it looks like Star Wars; it looks like you’re almost on the moon. It’s just stunning.
There’s this incredible artist in Korea I love — his Instagram handle is @tattooist_doy. He makes such delicate, intricate, beautiful tattoos. Years ago when I was in Korea to promote “Avengers,” he inked a sweet violet on my forearm. It’s a little flower I used to pick with my uncle in the woods when I was little. I’m planning to get another one with him the next time I go to Asia.
I remember falling in love with “Kill Bill” when it came out in theaters in Paris. It’s one of the movies that made me want to become an actress. It made me want to assert my confidence.
One of my agents years ago had a pair of socks that said “[expletive] you, pay me,” and I was like, “I need those socks.” So I bought them, and when I wear them, they make me laugh.
I enjoy baking because the steps have to be right, and the sizes have to be on point. I love making lemon meringue pie, and I’ll draw a heart on it with raspberries. I love to make chocolate fondant; it’s really easy. I used to do that for my boyfriends, when I had boyfriends, a long time ago!
I’ve jumped 104 times since October 2021, when Tom Cruise gifted me skydiving lessons as a wrap gift. I love the rush, I love the precision, I love how sharp it makes me. When I jump off a hot-air balloon very early in the morning and the sun is rising and it smells like mist — it’s magical.
Jessica Chastain in ‘A Doll’s House’
There’s something so magical and inspiring about watching live theater. When you’re onstage, it’s like you’re skydiving. You’re jumping into the void. There’s no one like, “Oh, there’s a second take or a third take” or “Oh, someone is going to edit it.” It’s right here, right now. I saw Jessica Chastain in “A Doll’s House” recently, and she was so raw and vulnerable. I can’t stop thinking about it.