New Casting Details and a Name Change for Mission: Impossible 4

Now that Jeremy Renner is occupying the big male lead opposite Tom Cruise in the next Mission: Impossible, producer JJ Abrams and director Brad Bird are setting their sites on casting the role of a young female operative. According to Deadline, the two actresses testing for the part are Lauren German and Paula Patton (Precious, Deja Vu).

After Jeremy Renner landed the co-starring role yesterday, Variety went digging around and have found that this Mission: Impossible isn’t simply a new installment in the film series (which dates back to 1996), but will likely be a complete reboot.

It appears that the upcoming film won’t be called Mission: Impossible 4 nor continue where JJ Abrams’ third film ended. Details on the script by Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec (Alias) are few, but it looks like instead of the traditional team concept, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is only working with one: Jeremy Renner’s character. As for what the film will be called, insiders say Paramount is opting for something more evocative, like what Christopher Nolan did with restarting the Batman franchise as Batman Begins followed by The Dark Knight.

The Buzz: While the third Mission: Impossible arrived on the heels of Cruise’s couch-jumping incident, his latest film, Knight & Day, proved that he is still adored by fans worldwide. The franchise has been popular for Paramount Pictures and the moves that the studio and JJ Abrams are making is a way to help prolong the series – most likely with Renner taking a commanding role in future sequels, if there are any – with Cruise still having a presence. As for casting a female operative, of the two names mentioned above I’d go with Paula Patton. She may not have a ton of experience with action films, but she has worked with Tony Scott (on Deja Vu) so she should have no problems with Brad Bird on the currently untitled Mission: Impossible film which will hit theaters on December 16, 2011.

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