It’s looking like it might be prudent to back away — for the time being, at least — from today’s 7.19 report by Fox 411’s Roger Friedman that Tom Cruise won’t be doing that Edwin A. Salt movie with Philip Noyce, from a script by Kurt Wimmer. Freidman is saying Cruise has “apparently” bailed “because of money” and that Will Smith has now stepped into the role. Not so, says a well-placed source who’s focusing on the creative side.
Freidman’s story more or less claims that the Salt producers haven’t offered Cruise his usual massive salary because they feel he isn’t the same box-office powerhouse he was five years ago…which of course he isn’t. But my guy says the Smith story is complete horseshit, and that Cruise’s issue isn’t the money (as far as he knows) but the Wimmer script, which has given Cruise concern because the Salt character is too much like Mission Impossible’s Ethan Hunt, whom Cruise has played three times.
“Cruise is waiting for the new [Wimmer] draft which is coming out in the next couple of weeks,” I was told this morning. “He’s never been officially attached to the film…never said that he absolutely wants to do it. The main concern is about the character being too close to Hunt.
“He’s always had this concern about repeating himself. Salt is a character working for the CIA, being extraordinary at disguise and athletic…there are a whole lot of similarities there. It’s possible that salary discussions may have taken place, but that’s not my area. All I know is,we’re waiting on a new script that will arrive in a week or two.”
What’s the motive of the people feeding the Cruise-is-out story to Friedman? “Everybody wants to bring down Tom Cruise,” my source said. “Except everyone associated with Edwin A. Salt would like Tom to be in it.”