Hayley Atwell landed a role in the upcoming Mission: Impossible movies after impressing director Christopher McQuarrie with her "frightening" knife skills.

The 38-year-old actress is set to play the mysterious leading lady who will test every member of the fictional Impossible Missions Force (IMF) team, led by Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt, in the seventh and eighth instalments of the action-adventure franchise.

Her casting was announced in September, and since then, she's undergone some intense physical training for the role in the blockbusters, which will also star Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson.

However, it was Atwell's screen test, which included a whopping two-hour stunt audition, which blew director McQuarrie away.

“It is truly something to see... the work that you’ve done, the dedication you’ve shown, the focus, and quite frankly, your frightening talent with a knife, are all stuff that I’m very, very, very excited for people to see. It’s a very different side of Hayley," he told the Light the Fuse podcast.

And Pegg, who has starred in the franchise as tech expert Benji Dunn since 2003's Mission: Impossible III, said he was stunned when the movie's stunt coordinator Wade Eastwood showed him a clip of the Avengers: Endgame star in action.

"(He) showed me a video of you doing your training. You’re super fast. Proper Matrix s**t going on," the Hot Fuzz funnyman told Hayley during the podcast.