show couches across the nation, beware! Tom Cruise is coming back. After getting canned from Paramount and seeing Mission: Impossible III deflate at the box office, the tiny thespian is acting just like a Tom Cruise character at the end of the second act of a Tom Cruise movie – he’s getting back on the horse/plane/wheelchair/cryogenic freezing chamber and going for the win!

First, Tom got in on the zombie movie studio United Artists, which has been dead and brought back more times than your average comic book villain. Now he’s signed on to his first film for the studio, and it’s serious Tom Cruise fare, not action Tom. The film is Lions for Lambs, and it’s not about an exchange program on the Serengeti but is rather a trio of connecting stories (the connecting stories thing is so hot these days. I wonder if Paul Haggis and Alejandro González Iñárritu are getting royalties) that has at its center the war in Afghanistan.

The official synopsis is a little thin: ‘"Lambs" is a Matthew Carnahan-scripted drama that consists of three interconnected storylines: Cruise as a congressman who interacts with a journalist (Meryl Streep); Robert Redford as an idealistic professor who attempts to inspire a privileged student in his class; and a third storyline about a pair of American soldiers wounded in enemy territory, one of whom is Redford’s former student.’ When Variety reported on this rumor previously, they said that Lions for Lambs was a “political drama,” and the clues I got at that time led me to believe that the soldiers are being investigated by the congressman and/or the journalist for war crimes.

Redford will direct the movie, which means that not only will it be incredibly earnest, it will also likely be very, very slow.

This film is a great move for Cruise, because it’s low budget and it’ll be essentially in-house for him. Also, when the time comes to do press, this is the kind of movie where he can brush off the personal stuff and talk about the film – you can’t get that stuck up when you’re promoting a Mission: Impossible movie, which is basically structured around your tiny little self.