As far as Paramount is concerned, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol seems to have come off well and should be a promising lead-in to a new phase of the series in which Jeremy Renner can take over from Tom Cruise. So the architects of that fourth M:I film, screenwriters Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec, have been hired to tackle another big property that the studio wants to revitalize as a franchise: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

We don’t have any details on the plan of attack, storywise, but the Appelbaum/Nemec team is now writing the TMNT film that Platinum Dunes has slowly been developing since the property landed there one year ago. There had been a script by John Fusco written for a new TMNT film some time back, but when Platinum Dunes got the license, it seemed like they were going to go for an all-new approach.

There is still a new animated series set to hit Nickelodeon later this year (we’ve seen some character posters for that) but this is a completely different project. We don’t know how this film will be realized — guys in suits? CGI/live-action blend? something else? — and given that Platinum Dunes has been trying to diversify away from horror in the past year, we can’t even reasonably assume that this will be a dark/gritty take on the characters. More likely, expect a broad, mainstream relaunch that can position the Turtles as a merchandizing bonanza once more. [Deadline]

(EDIT: There was actually another report, from a few months after Dunes took over the franchise, that I’d totally forgotten about. That was when Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, credited on Iron Man, were hired to write a big Transformers-style script. The idea then was to fast-track to shoot for 2012. That obviously didn’t happen, and so we’re kinda back at square one — is this meant to be a rewrite of their script, or a page-one? Probably a rewrite, but we don’t have a firm confirmation on that. )

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