Championing Tom Cruise
Well, I suppose it was bound to happen. Since Guillermo Del Toro's bigscreen remake of the Sixties ITC cult classic The Champions is set up at Tom Cruise's studio, United Artists, it was probably only a matter of time before the star attached himself to the project. And that's probably a good thing, as it will give the project a much better chance of actually getting made. And Cruise does look a little bit like Stuart Damon, if you squint... (Though Damon's Adventurer co-star Gene Barry would probably point out that Damon is a good deal taller than Cruise!) But I'm not sure he's right for the part. And he's already got his own spy franchise! But I'm willing to give the star the benefit of the doubt, and I'd rather see a Tom Cruise Champions than no Champions at all. The other big news in Variety's story is that Cruise's go-to writer, Valkyrie scribe Christopher McQuarrie is doing a rewrite on Del Toro's script. Here's what the trade says:
The same article reports that McQuarrie is also polishing up the other spy movie Cruise is currently eyeing to potentially star in, The Tourist:
McQuarrie also is writing and producing with Guillermo del Toro the previously announced United Artists project The Champions, penning the script with an eye toward hammering it into a Cruise vehicle. The British TV series transfer concerns a team of government agents rescued from a plane crash in the Himalayas by an advanced civilization and given superhuman abilities.
MGM brass has long felt that the project was UA's strongest chance for a big-ticket franchise vehicle that could star UA co-owner Cruise.
The Cruise-McQuarrie collaboration with the most urgency is Spyglass espionage drama The Tourist. McQuarrie is rewriting for Cruise to star with Charlize Theron in the Bharat Nalluri-directed remake of the 2005 French thriller "Anthony Zimmer." Julian Fellowes originally scripted the redo.Cruise just can't stop spying! (Not that I blame him.)
Jack Ryan Version 4.0
Meanwhile, Paramount is at it again with their unceasing attempts to revitalize their long-dormant spy franchise based on Tom Clancy's CIA analyst character, Jack Ryan. Most recently Sam Raimi was tipped to shepherd the newest incarnation of Ryan (played in the past by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck), and before him Fernando Meirelles. Everyone from Ford to Ryan Gosling has been rumored to star. Now The Hollywood Reporter reports that the studio has hired The Wings of the Dove and Four Feathers screenwriter Hossein Amini to tackle a new Jack Ryan movie. After so many false starts at reviving this franchise, forgive me if I remain skeptical until this sucker actually starts rolling! While producer Mace Neufeld remains involved, there's no word yet on a director, but Raimi is definitely out of the picture because "his packed schedule made his involvement unworkable."