Tom Cruise took a breather from the never-ending, desperately showy dance of seduction that is his marriage to Katie Holmes to confirm that Mission: Impossible IV will be directed by Brad Bird, beloved animator behind The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille. The sequel—which just had its release date pushed back to December 16, 2011—will be Bird’s first foray into live-action, although the Mission: Impossible movies (and Cruise himself) border on human cartoons anyway. The story is still being hammered out, with Cruise saying, “We’re having a lot of fun. I like working with people I just love hanging out with. You get to hang out and laugh and talk stories and movies and technology: what are we going to do?” Man, doesn’t Tom Cruise’s life just sound like a bottomless barrel of smiles? Maybe Scientology is onto something.

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