Last we heard from anyone, including J.J. Abrams, the plan for Mission: Impossible 4 was to have him and Tom Cruise on board as producers, but neither more involved in the movie than that. Whether the Church of Scientology is demanding more tithes or Suri just needs a new wardrobe, things have changed-- Paramount has announced that Cruise has signed on to play Ethan Hunt one more time.

And the movie is coming way sooner than you expected-- shooting is intended to start this summer in time for a Memorial Day 2011 release. Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec, who together worked on the American version of Life on Mars, are writing the screenplay, and the hunt for a director has begun. Abrams isn't interested presumably for a whole host of reasons, but at least we won't have to worry he'll throw over Star Trek 2 to work on this.

Cruise is playing a more comedic kind of action hero this summer in Knight and Day, and that will be a good measure of whether or not he's still got it, and if all the Scientology nonsense has made us much less interested in watching him save the world. But given that M:I 3 came out at the height of the couch-jumping nonsense, I'd say he's in the clear. Welcome back to your element, Mr. Cruise.
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