Cruise takes on "Mission: Impossible IV"

Tue Feb 9, 2010 8:13pm EST
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Paramount Pictures on Tuesday said Tom Cruise will star in a new "Mission: Impossible" movie set for release in 2011 and produced by Cruise and J.J. Abrams.

Cruise and Abrams last teamed up in 2006 for "Mission: Impossible III," with Cruise in the role of super agent Ethan Hunt who battles bad guys and saves the world from evil.

The first two "Mission: Impossible" movies made a combined $1 billion at global box offices. The third film's U.S. box office reached $134 million and was considered a mild disappointment by box office watchers, even though it raked in another $264 million overseas proving Cruise's international appeal.

Also, Cruise's public image had been tarnished the preceding year by his staunch defense of his beliefs in Scientology and by an incident in which he jumped on Oprah Winfrey's couch proclaiming his love for actress Katie Holmes.

Following "Mission: Impossible III," Paramount cut its film production ties with Cruise, and the making of a fourth film in the series has been a question ever since.

But Tuesday, Paramount said Cruise and Abrams, who made this past summer's smash hit "Star Trek," dreamed up an original idea for a fourth film and were back together again.

"Tom and J.J. are great talents and we are excited to be working with them to re-launch this legendary franchise," Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey said in a statement.

Screenwriters Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec will write the script, and a director has not yet been named.

(Editing by Jill Serjeant)

<p>U.S. actor Tom Cruise stands on the sidelines of the field before the start of the NFL football game between the Detroit Lions and the Washington Redskins at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan September 27, 2009. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook</p>