Earlier today, we reported that Paramount had set December 16, 2011 as the release date for Mission: Impossible IV. However, there was no word if director Brad Bird was officially attached to helm or still in negotiations. Empire now confirms that Bird will install the fourth installment in the franchise. Tom Cruise will return to star and produce with Mission: Impossible III director J.J. Abrams staying on as a co-producer.
Cruise broke the news while speaking to Empire in Los Angeles. I was encouraged that Cruise not only mentioned Bird’s Oscar-winning films The Incredibles and Ratatouille, but what I believe to be Bird’s best film, The Iron Giant. M:I-4 will be Bird’s first live-action feature. If Bird shows he can handle a big-budget live-action movie with M:I-IV, it could go a long way to helping him get his passion project, 1906, made. That film, which is about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, is currently stalled at Warner Bros. due to the studio’s reservations about the budget.