Mission: Impossible 4 To Be Reworked?

Last month it was reported that Alias' scribes Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec had turned in their script for the Brad Bird-directed Mission: Impossible 4, but would the box office for Cruise's action/comedy Knight and Day effect the upcoming spy action sequel? Knight and Day pulled in a mildly disappointing $61.8 million domestically after a month of release, and it now appears that Paramount might be reworking the script to introduce "a young operative" for Ethan Hunt to mentor (ie another, more bankable star, to put on the poster and sell in tv spots and trailers).

Deadline provides the following update:

I hear the script that came in is very good, but the studio is still trying to figure out the budget as well as Cruise's role in light of the lackluster Knight And Day grosses. There's talk that Tom's character will mentor a young operative this time out if the pic proceeds.

When the project was first announced, there was a lot of speculation that it would be a reboot, with a new star in the front and center spy role. But when Paramount Pictures signed Tom Cruise to reprise his role as Ethan Hunt in M:I-IV, it was revealed that the film would be another sequel — with Cruise's character as the lead. It was revealed that Tom and JJ developed "a really cool idea" for a fourth adventure, which Abrams turned into "an insanely long outline".

Brad Bird, the two-time Oscar-winning filmmaker behind Pixar's The Incredibles and Ratatouille, in addition to the critically acclaimed 2D animated feature The Iron Giant, won out over a reported list of other contenders which included Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer and Shaun of the Dead/Hott Fuzz helmer Edgar Wright. Mission Impossible 4 is being developed for an announced December 16th 2011 release.