I’ve been reporting the ups and downs of the film project known as Edwin A. Salt for a while now. However, I haven’t reported anything quite as strange as this news. Apparently, Tom Cruise has exited the project and Angelina Jolie has stepped in – to play Edwin A. Salt himself.
Cruise had been attached to this project for the longest time. He and director Philip Noyce had been developing the film along with another film, 28th Amendment, which was to co-star Denzel Washington. Well, not too long ago, Cruise and Noyce both jumped ship on 28th Amendment presumably to concentrate on bringing Salt to the big screen. Now we find out that Cruise has left the project.
There’s no solid word on why Cruise is out. He had long flirted with playing the title character, a CIA officer who’s accused by a defector of being a Russian sleeper spy and must elude capture long enough to establish his innocence. Other male stars were circling the project when Cruise decided to exit, but Jolie expressed interest almost immediately which prompted the studio to order a rewrite to turn the lead character into a woman. The studio is interested in Jolie because they, along with everyone else, watched Warner Bros. beef up Jolie’s role in Wanted and market that film on her shoulders and then watched as Wanted went on to gross (so far) $132M in domestic box office.
The film is being eyed as a return vehicle for Jolie after giving birth to twins just a few weeks ago. Another candidate for her return is the Lionsgate drama Atlas Shrugged, which has been adapted by Randall Wallace (Braveheart) from the Ayn Rand novel. Jolie will next appear onscreen in Clint Eastwood’s Changeling this October.
The title of Edwin A. Salt will be changed, of course. Currently, Philip Noyce is still attached to direct.