A fourth Mission: Impossible film being directed by Brad Bird is a real thing that is happening. I know this because there are photos of the two men location scouting in Prague (below) and because there are casting developments starting to emerge. The key casting choice in any Mission: Impossible film is the villain, and word from Hollywood Insider is that it has been offered to Michael Nyqvist of the increasingly popular Girl With The Dragon Tattoo film (which David Fincher will be remaking soon, from the same book). I traveled recently, and spending a few cumulative hours in a half-dozen airports made it extremely clear how popular these novels are, and the film seems to be uncommonly popular for a Swedish film in the States. Praise is high for Nyqvist in the film, and he’s apparently caught Brad Bird’s eye. Nyqvist will get to beat the ever-loving shit out of Hunt apparently, as the script contains an extensively detailed 5-page final fight between the two. The role is described as “this very charming, but calculating bad guy. Not your typical spy-film villain.” That sounds exactly like a typical spy-film villain. Granted, it will be a significant change up from Philip Seymour Hoffman’s (incredible) sleazy, matter-of-fact asshole, but the fact remains that a charming villain isn’t exactly a trend-shattering decision.
The same report states that the title of the film is still up in the air, but all signs point to them dropping the number. The project is also looking for an actor of some prestige to take on the head-of-IMF role, so they can continue the pattern of name actors leading the division (Fishburne, Hopkins, Voight).
To conclude, here is a picture of Tom Cruise walking next to Brad Bird The Centaur (from JustJared).