Jeremy Renner has signed on to star alongside Tom Cruise in Brad Bird’s Mission: Impossible IV. Deadline reports that Paramount was looking for an actor who could potentially carry on the franchise should Cruise leave the series down the line, although he is expected to return for a fifth picture should it happen. As we reported a couple days ago, Keven Zegers, Christopher Egan, and Anthony Mackie were in talks to join the film, but Deadline explains they were all planning to read for the role that now belongs to Renner.
Ving Rhames is set to return and Simon Pegg is in talks to reprise his role as Benji Dunn. Paramount has also met with Swedish actress Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Hit the jump for more on Renner’s increasingly-busy schedule. Mission: Impossible IV is due out on December 16, 2011.
After his breakout turn in The Hurt Locker, Renner had already landed the major role of Hawkeye in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers. Deadline makes a good point in noting that Paramount is going with a 41-year-old as the scion of the Mission: Impossible franchise, but says that production chief Adam Goodman saw a “Daniel Craig quality” in the Oscar-nominated actor. Renner definitely has the acting chops to hold down his own franchise (or two, if Hawkeye gets spun-off into his own movie post-Avengers).
Renner is also attached to star in the indie dramas The Raven and Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, which is reportedly going to begin shooting this month. Mission: Impossible IV is set to film this fall and The Avengers goes before cameras in February.