Tom Cruise can currently be found on the big screen playing military police officer-turned loner Jack Reacher, in the sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. The A-lister will be back in theaters in June 2017 in The Mummy – a reboot of the supernatural horror/adventure franchise – and then show up again just a few months later, in the true story-based dramatic thriller American Made by Cruise’s Edge of Tomorrow director, Doug Liman. Cruise is also going to keep busy next year by reprising his role as IMF agent Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible 6, under the watchful eye of his Jack Reacher and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation director, Christopher McQuarrie. What the A-lister will be working on after that, remains to be determined.
There are currently two Cruise-led sequels in the pipeline – Top Gun 2 and Edge of Tomorrow 2 – that could be next in line for the actor, after he finishes working on the sixth Mission: Impossible movie. Another possibility is Methuselah, a Biblical epic about the life and times of the eponymous character (who lived to be nearly 1,000 years old) that Cruise is attached to headline, with Warner Bros. Pictures serving as the distributor and David Heyman (Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) producing the film.
Deadline is reporting that Methuselah has found a director in Joachim Rønning: the co-director of the Oscar-nominated drama Kon-Tiki, as well as the first two episodes of Netflix’s Marco Polo TV series and the upcoming Disney tentpole, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (all of which he co-helmed with Espen Sandberg). The project currently has a finished script draft by Zach Dean (Deadfall), but Deadline is reporting that WB and Heyman are on the hunt for an A-list screenwriter to rewrite the screenplay – in the hope of getting Cruise to commit to the project, in the foreseeable future.
The Biblical epic sub-genre was once a lucrative one for Hollywood, but that has changed somewhat in recent years. Darren Aronofsky’s 2014 film Noah – which stars Anthony Hopkins as Methuselah, as it were – was generally well-received and a solid commercial hit thanks largely to its global box office take. Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings hit the scene the same year as Noah did, but it didn’t perform as well in either of those respects (something that the movie’s white-washing controversy might have contributed to). This year’s Ben-Hur retelling did far worse than either Noah or Exodus, earning poor reviews and failing to even match its $100 million production budget at the global box office in the process.
WB might be hesitant to move forward on Methuselah too quickly for related reasons, even after having landed an A-list star in Cruise and a capable director in Rønning. The latter, over the past few years, has demonstrated a knack for imbuing intimate indie dramas, Netflix TV shows and, judging by the early buzz surrounding Dead Men Tell No Tales, Disney blockbusters alike with a proper sweeping epic feel. If Rønning’s proposed vision (coupled with the impending script rewrite) for Methuselah are impressive enough to get a firm commitment from Cruise, then perhaps that will give WB enough of a confidence boost to green-light the project within the next year or so.
We’ll bring you more information on Methuselah as it becomes available.