Tom Cruise Signs on for More Space Travel in ‘Yukikaze’

Mark Deming
Movie Talk

Tom Cruise's stock as an American action hero may not be what it once was after "Knight and Day" and "Jack Reacher" failed to live up to the industry's box office expectations, but he seems to be faring better in epic-scale sci-fi vehicles.

Cruise's latest film "Oblivion," which opens in American theaters on Friday, debuted in Europe last weekend to impressive business, already grossing $61 million overseas. And Cruise has another big-budget sci-fi story in the can, Doug Liman's "All You Need Is Kill," which is expected to arrive in theaters in the spring of 2014.

Now Cruise has booked yet another glossy futuristic adventure. It was announced Monday that Cruise has been signed to star in "Yukikaze," an adaptation of the classic Japanese sci-fi novel from author Chohei Kambayashi.

Already the basis of a series of popular anime releases, "Yukikaze" follows the adventures of the FAF, a planetary defense force who are battling an aggressive alien invasion. When it's discovered the aliens made their way to Earth using a wormhole in space and time that has appeared over Antarctica, the FAF use it to travel back to the invaders' home planet and halt the attacks.

While producers Tom Lassally and Erwin Stoff (who are working with Warner Bros.) have a commitment from Cruise for "Yukikaze," they don’t yet have a screenwriter or director for the project. However, since Lassally also produced "All You Need Is Kill," his thinking that Cruise is the right man to anchor "Yukikaze" comes from experience and not just a hunch.

Don’t think that Cruise is putting all his eggs in the sci-fi basket, through. He has several other movies in the works, including a fifth "Mission: Impossible" picture and a possible "Jack Reacher" sequel ("Reacher" did only $80 million in the United States on a $60 million budget, but it raked in over $136 million in foreign markets). Cruise has also reportedly been in talks with director Guy Ritchie about a possible big screen reboot of the classic 1960s TV series "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." But if all those deals fall through, there are a lot worse fates in show business than being a highly paid space jockey.