reports of Tom Cruise’s career death are greatly exaggerated. Take that, Sumner Redstone! After getting dumped from his deal at Paramount and after his fake wife gave birth to the clone of L Ron Hubbard, Cruise is bounding back with three new projects in the pipeline.

Variety says that Cruise is looking at three films, two at studios and one independent. According to the trade paper, the indie film –Lions for Lambs – is the frontrunner. Cruise would play a congressman in this political drama about a platoon of US soldiers in Afghanistan. Meryl Streep is being eyed for a role as a journalist, and it’s looking like Robert Redford will direct, as well as play a role. Could this film be about some kind of war crimes committed by American troops? If so, it would be a bold choice for Cruise, who is already dealing with being disliked by most Americans.

One of the other films is The Ha-Ha, based on Dave King’s novel about a mute Gulf War vet taking care of a kid whose mother went AWOL. That sounds much more like boring, traditional Cruise stuff, and playing a mute hearkens back to his time in a wheelchair in Born on the Fourth of July. Such a serious – but heartwarming! – role. I bet that kid teaches that vet a thing or two.

The other film is Selling Time, a Spike Lee movie at Fox. The synopsis – “a man… sells back chunks of time in his life for a chance to relive and change the worst day of his life” – sounds sort of dumb, even though it’ll be interesting to see Spike tackle something scifi. Cruise is known for going out of his way to work with good directors, so I imagine that this Lee film is a real contender for the diminutive star. And how exciting would it be to see Cruise being pulled on a dolly?

It’ll be interesting to see how Cruise battles his way back in the months ahead. I feel like ol’ Jew-hating Mel Gibson is going to have an easier time of it than Tommy.