In 2014, Tom Cruise and Doug Liman collaborated on the time looping sci-fi action thriller, Edge of Tomorrow, which ended up being on of the best received summer action movies of the year (read our review). While its box office intake was certainly not what Warner Bros. would have liked, there are still plenty of reasons to watch the film and several members of the Screen Rant team can vouch for its excellent quality.
Universal is hoping that the duo's success wasn't a fluke, as the studio has tapped the pair for the 1980s drug thriller Mena. Liman and Cruise are currently in talks to come on board, with Liman replacing Ron Howard as director and Cruise headlining as Barry Seal in this real-life inspired tale.
THR broke the story, saying that the core narrative will revolve around Seal, a fired TWA pilot who gained notoriety as a key drug smuggler for the Medellin Cartel. He was later recruited by both the DEA and the CIA to help provide intelligence during the Iran Contra scandal, in which United States government officials sold armed weapons to Iran - even though the country was under an arms embargo.
Tonally, this may be a different kind of movie when compared to Edge, but it still sounds like compelling material for a feature film nonetheless. Liman should prove to be a solid choice to helm Mena, as the espionage elements will allow him to slide into Bourne Identity mode; he's also demonstrated a knack for creating compelling drama based on real-life events before, with the Valerie Plame drama, Fair Game. Cruise too, is a welcome addition to this film, as Seal sounds like a meaty role for the actor - one which should gel well with Cruise's dedication to his craft.
The one big question mark surrounding Mena at this point in time is the script, which was written by relative newcomer Gary Spinelli. He has just one screenwriting credit to his name (Stash House, a little-seen mystery film from 2012), but Universal was willing to fork over $1 million for the rights to the screenplay. That would indicate that there was something about it that impressed the higher ups that it was a worthwhile investment. Spinelli's far from a household name, but everyone gets their start somewhere...
With two high-profile principal players seemingly set to make the film, the next stage is finding a start date for production. That honestly may not come for a while. Cruise is in the middle of filming Mission: Impossible V and there are a number of alternative projects to Mena that he could select as his next starring vehicle (including a Jack Reacher sequel). Meanwhile, Liman is still attached to call the shots on the Splinter Cell movie, at some point in the future.
That said, there's been very little progress made on the Splinter Cell video game film since the project was first announced; likewise, many of the projects Cruise is currently attached to have been slow to develop. And with Mena starting to come together at a fast pace, Liman could be ready to start rolling shortly after Cruise finishes up his latest adventure as Ethan Hunt.
Hopefully, this new Cruise/Liman film can come into fruition sooner rather than later. After Edge of Tomorrow, there are probably many moviegoers eager to see the actor and director work together again; and if handled properly, Mena on paper sounds like it could be an awards contender. All in all, there's plenty to be excited about with this one.
We'll keep you updated on Mena as more information becomes available.