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Jeremy Renner joins MI:4

Paramount have been combing through the ranks of young Hollywood talent for months now in search of a suitable foil for Tom Cruise, with a fourth entry to the Mission Impossible looming large.

The initial plan was to cast a lesser known actor in what would be a star-making role, with Anthony Mackie, Tom Hardy and Chris Pine all mooted as possible choices.

However it looks as though the studio have had a fairly major change of heart, eventually plumping for an older head in the shape of 39-year-old Hurt Locker star Jeremy Renner.

Renner will play a secondary operative to Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, but that’s about all we know in terms of character details. What we do know is that Brad Bird will be behind the camera, and filming is slated to begin in the next couple of months in time for a prospective release date of December 16th 2011.

Deadline report that a key element in the casting process was finding someone who could eventually pick up the baton from Cruise, so if this one is a success, Renner could find himself with a franchise on his hands…

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Total Film

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