By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist May 20, 2011 at 9:35AM
While Universal has been cagey with expensive, risky projects of late stalling Ron Howard's "The Dark Tower" and pulling the plug on Guillermo del Toro's "At the Mountains of Madness," one thing they have no hesitation about is Tom Cruise.
Rumored a month ago as a candidate for Joseph Kosinski's "Oblivion" which was moving from Disney to Universal, it looks like the deal has been made. Deadline reports that Cruise is now committed to star in the picture marking one helluva rebound for the film that for a moment seemed adrift. Based on Kosinski’s own graphic novel with Karl Gajdusek rewriting a script first penned by William Monahan, the story is “set in a future where the Earth’s surface has been irradiated beyond recognition and the remnants of humanity live above the clouds, safe from the brutal alien Scavengers that stalk the ruins. But when surface drone repairman Jak (Cruise) discovers a mysterious woman in a crash-landed pod, it sets off an unstoppable chain of events that will force him to question everything he knows.” The project will come in at a PG-13 rating and will shoot this fall with a $100 million budget, but it's not the only big movie Cruise has his eye on.
The actor seems determined to work with Guillermo del Toro whom he would've paired up with on "At the Mountains of Madness." Mike Fleming says that while nothing is certain just yet, Cruise is "talking" about appearing in del Toro's "Pacific Rim." Charlie Hunnam recently bagged a lead role in the film, so we're not sure what Cruise's part would be. But we surmise that if he does sign on, he'd been playing be playing the brother of Raleigh Antrobus, who with his sibling co-pilots the telepathically driven Jaegers -- enormous building-sized robots constructed to fight off the malevolent creatures. Certainly, Warner Bros. would be happy to have the Cruise star wattage in both films. And scheduling doesn't seem to be an issue as "Pacific Rim" doesn't look like it will start until late this year.
But as always, Cruise tends to surround himself with options before deciding on anything and we'd be surprised if he does two big sci-fi pics back-to-back considering he prefers to switch things up. He's also got the "Tropic Thunder" spinoff for his character Les Grossman to consider -- the script is finished -- and is also in the middle of deal for the next dramedy script by "Crazy, Stupid, Love." writer Dan Fogelman. So we'll see if he'll wind up playing in the del Toro sandbox or not.
Cruise begins shooting the musical "Rock of Ages" this month and will hit screens next in "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol" on December 16th.