Spielberg and Cruise Go Back to War

Box-office champ Tom Cruise and director Steven Spielberg, who collaborated on the 2002 hit, Minority Report, have announced plans to revisit another science fiction work together in a new version of H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds. Based on a script by David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Mission: Impossible), the new Paramount/DreamWorks feature will begin production in November, according to stories in both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.

Sources report that the CG-laded movie will have an estimated budget of over $100 million and is being rushed to have it ready for a 2005 release. Kathleen Kennedy and Paula Wagner have signed as producers. Meanwhile, Cruise’s next project Mission: Impossible 3, with newly attached director J.J. Abrams (Alias) will be postponed until next summer. Cruise’s current movie, Collateral, which grossed $25 million in the U.S. last weekend, is expected to continue to bring in the green in upcoming weeks.

Fans of the H. G. Wells’ classic tale will recall that it was screen legend Orson Welles who made it famous with his Oct. 30, 1938, radio version. Millions of Americans tuned in to listen to Welles and his Mercury Theater actors re-enact the story, and many actually believed that Earth was being invaded by Martians as the result of the realistic on-air production. In 1953, director Byron Haskins and producer George Pal brought the first feature adaptation of the novel to the big screen, which starred Gene Barry as the lead character. At the time, the movie was seen as a clever response to Cold War paranoia.