Now that Mission: Impossible 3 looks like it’s actually going to get made this time after several catastrophic nosedives, the production is closing up casting with thundering thesp Laurence “Don’t Even Think About Calling Me Larry” Fishburne.

Fishburne (overlooked as the canny criminal in Assault on Precinct 13) will play a mentor to superspy Tom Cruise, a role he’s familiar with after compressing data into the uncluttered skull of Keanu Reeves.  I have to wonder if this is the equivalent of the fleeting Anthony Hopkins appearance in the last film, although I can’t imagine what Fishburne (who’s only like a year older than Cruise) could possibly teach Ethan Hunt considering he can already leap onto 200mph bullet trains and defy physics on motorcycles and blow up aquariums with gum, which must all look pretty great on a résumé.

The certain-to-confuse espionage movie comes from Alias guy JJ Abrams and stars Ving Rhames, Keri Russell, Michelle Monaghan, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Dirk Diggler’s biggest fan Philip Seymour Hoffman as the proverbial heavy, all of whom replace the previously cast Carrie-Ann Moss, Kenneth Branagh and Scarlett Johansson (who probably came thisclose to playing the current part of Katie Holmes).  The movie starts filming in mid-July, while Cruise is otherwise busy saving the planet (or at least his immediate family) in War of the Worlds and continuing to embarrass himself on television.

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