Tom Cruise is on the comeback trail in a big way. The star, for nearly two decades Hollywood’s untouchable golden boy, has had a rough half-decade, grabbing the wrong kind of headlines for some bizarre public behavior and starring in a string of domestic disappointments; “Lions for Lambs,” “Valkyrie” and last year’s “Knight & Day” (although the latter two managed impressive overseas hauls).
But Cruise has always been a smart operator, and he’s lined up a slate in the next few years that has every chance of putting him back on top. He’s giving his biggest franchise a new lick of paint by collaborating with Brad Bird on “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” (having met with young talent like Ruben Fleischer and Edgar Wright on the project); taking a comic, musical role in “Rock of Ages” (which along with the in-development Les Grossman “Tropic Thunder” spin-off shows a new willingness to poke fun at his persona); he’s got a new franchise hopeful with Christopher McQuarrie‘s “One Shot“; and he’ll take on a big-scale sci-fi movie with the untitled Joseph Kosinski project that was once titled “Oblivion.”
And now, to show his renewed credit in town, the star’s being sought for another huge project: the Doug Liman-helmed sci-fi film formerly known as “All You Need Is Kill.” The film, an adaptation of a novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, has had Liman attached for over a year now, but recently got a new lease of life when “The Bourne Identity” director’s mooted next project, “Luna,” fell apart, and Warner Bros. and Liman were said to be approaching Brad Pitt over the lead role as a soldier in a futuristic war who finds himself living the last day before his death on an endless loop.
But it seems as though Pitt has passed, as The Hollywood Reporter reveal that Liman is now in talks with Cruise about the project, now re-titled “We Mortals Are” (a name which we’re not sure is an improvement on an already-pretty-awful title). Together with Pitt, it signals that the studio is opting to go for an older actor in the role; Billy Cage, the central character, is barely 20 in the original D.W. Harper script, and Ryan Gosling was said to be being pursued for the film when Liman was first involved. It’s a similar approach that the studio took for “Akira,” which chased Pitt and Keanu Reeves before being put in turnaround.
We wonder how realistic a possibility Cruise is since the script is of a piece with the Kosinski film that he’ll star in once he wraps “One Shot,” and we wonder if he’d want to take on something so similar so quickly. But it’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility, and at the very least, it gives his credibility a new boost. We imagine we’ll find out if he accepts the offer in the next couple of weeks.