Doug Liman is working to pull together a film based on the script All You Need is Kill, which tells the story of a young soldier in a future war who steps out into battle and is promptly killed, only to wake up hours earlier, alive once more. He relives that loop many times, dying over and over, until he builds the skills to survive. People keep calling the project ‘Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers,’ and that’s pretty accurate. Just sprinkle in a bit of Col. Kassad’s story from Dan Simmons’ Hyperion novels and you’ve got the idea.

Last time we heard about the film WB was reportedly looking at Brad Pitt to star. Now the studio is talking to Tom Cruise about taking the lead. And the project might have a new title, either We Mortals Are or We Are Mortals.

THR gives the film just a passing mention in an article about the state of Cruise’s career, saying only that “Warners is again talking to the actor for the lead in its big-budget sci-fi war pic.” The trade calls the film We Mortals Are.

Anyway, one of the issues with the Dante Harper All You Need is Kill script Warners bought last year is indeed that it would be a very expensive film — Doug Liman might be able to bring it in for $150m. (And it could easily come in at over $200m.) So it’s not the sort of movie that is going to rely upon a relatively young actor in the lead. It should — the concept should sell the movie, not the actor. But with the studio wanting to sell with star power we get WB looking at Pitt and Cruise rather than younger guys better suited for the role.

Both of those guys are wrong for the script that was going around last year. I haven’t read the current draft, so changes could easily have been made that would accommodate an older actor. With rewrites so the character is an older guy who went into the service as a last resort, it might work fine. Who knows; it could even be better. We might also see a little Ben Button/Captain America digital shrinking and de-aging on Cruise to make him fit the script. That could be interesting.

Regardless, if Cruise signs on, the movie might actually get made, and I like the concept and the very video-game derived moments in the script, enough to want to see it on the screen. Here’s the synopsis of Hiroshi Sakurazaka‘s original book, upon which the script was based:

There’s one thing worse than dying. It’s coming back to do it again and again… When the alien Gitai invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many raw recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to find himself reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On the 158th iteration though, he sees something different, something out of place: the female soldier known as the Bitch of War. Is the Bitch the key to Keiji’s escape, or to his final death?

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