I don't know what it means that Tom Cruise has opted out of the Philip Noyce thriller Edwin A. Salt and been replaced in the lead role by Angelina Jolie. Apparently Cruise was never really solidly involved in the project...he was only "interested" in it, as were several other big male stars (not named by the Variety article I'm getting this from). I do know that when Angelina Jolie took a shine to the role, Columbia immediately gave it to her, and assigned screenwriter Kurt Wimmer to redraft the script (obviously changing the lead character's gender and name). Like it or not, Jolie is seen as the most bankable female star on the planet right now. She is being given a lot of credit for the success of this summer's Wanted (which I liked a lot). Sometimes Hollywood misinterprets these things, but that's sort of irrelevant...perception is reality, and if studios think Jolie's worth it, then she'll have the power to snap up projects she likes and even get them re-written to suit her.
It might almost be cooler if they left the lead character a man...but I suppose that would defeat the purpose of casting a woman lots of men supposedly drool over. The plot, if you're interested, involves a CIA operative (Jolie) who is suspected of being a Russian spy. It's good that Cruise backed away from this...I think everyone's pretty much sick of him in this kind of part after the Mission: Impossible flicks. I frankly can't think of any type of role people aren't sick of Cruise in by now. Maybe his bit part as a fat, angry studio boss in Tropic Thunder will launch him on a new career as a comic actor. Or maybe he'll just quit movies and devote himself to his cult full-time.
Monday, August 11, 2008