May 6, 2008 / 5:37 AM / 10 years ago

Cruise "Mission" return not impossible: Redstone

SEOUL (Reuters) - Sumner Redstone, the executive chairman of cable network and movie studio owner Viacom Inc, will not oppose the casting of Tom Cruise in the next installment of the “Mission: Impossible” movie franchise.

Actor Tom Cruise arrives for the premiere of the film "I Am Legend" in New York December 11, 2007. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

“That’s really up to Brad Grey, who runs Paramount, he will make the decision,” Redstone said on the sidelines of Seoul Digital Forum on Tuesday.

“What I can say is, I consider Tom Cruise a great actor and a good friend, and if Paramount decides to go ahead with him, I will not object.”

Viacom is Paramount’s parent company.

Redstone in 2006 told the Wall Street Journal that the studio was not renewing a 14-year relationship with Cruise’s production company, saying “his recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount.”

The separation came in the wake of widely reported public relations setbacks that the star suffered at the time. His publicity faux pas ranged from his manic, couch-hopping profession of love for actress Katie Holmes on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to his strident denunciations of psychiatry.

Redstone’s words at the time signaled the end of one of the most lucrative production deals commanded by an A-list Hollywood star and followed other signs that Cruise’s stature had been damaged by his conduct during that year.

But recent media reports have speculated that Cruise would be back starring as agent Ethan Hunt for another “Mission: Impossible” movie.

Redstone sounded upbeat on the future of both Viacom and CBS Corp, which he controls through his privately held National Amusements Inc.

“CBS is doing exactly what it should do ... CBS and Viacom will both succeed in their respective initiatives.”

Viacom, which owns the Nickelodeon cable network and Paramount studios, reported on Friday a forecast-beating 33 percent rise in quarterly net profit on strong sales of the “Rock Band” video game and higher advertising revenue at MTV Networks.

CBS last week also reported a greater-than-expected 14 percent rise in quarterly earnings, helped by healthier results from its television business.

“Their results were terrific,” Redstone said, referring to CBS, “and so were Viacom’s.”

(Additional reporting by Rhee So-eui)

Tom Cruise and his wife Katie Holmes arrive for the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala, "Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy" in New York May 5, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Reporting by Marie-France Han, editing by Keiron Henderson

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