Tradecraft: Tom Cruise Accepts Fourth Mission
Variety reports that Tom Cruise has patched things up with Paramount (after their very public rift several years ago) and has officially chosen to accept a fourth Mission: Impossible film. This news isn't terribly surprising, since we've been tracking the sequel's development for some time, but it is welcome. While I had problems with the first two films in the franchise (though I've since come around on the first one), I very much liked the third part. J.J. Abrams, who co-wrote and directed that one, is aboard to produce the fourth one, so hopefully it will remain on track. Particularly encouraging was the news we heard late last year that Abrams was looking for ways to incorporate original series stars Leonard Nimoy and/or even Peter Graves into the next movie! I've said it before and I'll say it again: Abrams could easily rectify my, er, gravest issue with the Paramount film franchise with one simple line. "Good to see you, Jim. Boy, it's too bad that guy we let assume your name after you retired turned out to be such a traitorous asshole." Or something to that effect. Please, J.J.! We know you're a fan of the original TV series; do it for all the other fans out there!
According to the trade, the studio has earmarked Memorial Day, 2011 for the film's opening. That means it will go up against Pirates of the Caribbean 4 (in its second weekend) and the sequel to The Hangover. The Hollywood Reporter, who's also running the story (but not behind the annoying pay wall Variety now uses) reminds us of the pertinent details: "Cruise has been on board to produce the fourquel with M:I3 director J.J. Abrams since June. They have handed off an original idea to screenwriters Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec, who wrote for Abrams' spy series Alias. The studio and producers are now out to directors, as Abrams has not signed on to helm the followup."
There's no word on how this will affect Cruise's other high-profile, long in development spy movie, MGM's Robert Ludlum adaptation The Matarese Circle. Sadly, I suspect that film's fate is tied up with MGM's (much like the next Bond movie), so it may be some time before it comes to fruition. I just hope they don't lose director David Cronenberg in the interem! Cruise's next spy movie is Knight & Day, due out this summer.
If you only know Mission: Impossible through the movies, you should really check out the original TV series on which they're ostensibly based. All seven seasons are now available on DVD (start with the second one, which introduces Peter Graves as Jim Phelps), and they're highly entertaining!
Read my review of Mission: Impossible: The Sixth TV Season here.
Read my review of Mission: Impossible: The Fifth TV Season here.
Read my review of Mission: Impossible: The Fourth TV Season here.
Read my review of Mission: Impossible: The Third TV Season here.
Read my review of Mission: Impossible: The Second TV Season here.
Read my review of Mission: Impossible: The First TV Season here.