Simon Pegg Returns To ‘Mission: Impossible 4’

ALTAt least one likable actor is appearing in Mission: Impossible 4. Simon Pegg, of Shaun Of The Dead and Star Trek, is reprising his role as technical geek Benji Dunn in Paramount’s action film franchise. The fourth installment of the spy series is not technically greenlit, but director Brad Bird is reportedly already reading actors for the film.

Bird, the two-time Oscar winner for  Ratatouille and The Incredibles, is taking over the series from J.J. Abrams, who directed the third installment. Abrams is still involved in the project, however; he developed the story for the sequel along with Alias screenwriters Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec.

The Mission: Impossible series has long been a star vehicle for Tom Cruise, but the underperformance of Knight And Day has encouraged rumors that he’ll be scaled back to a supporting “mentor” role for a new hero. For the moment, we hold out hope that this means the film will be retooled around Pegg as a sort of Hot Fuzz spin-off.

Shooting on Mission: Impossible 4 is scheduled to begin in September for a December 2011 release.