We reported several weeks ago that Tom Cruise was all but confirmed to play the U.S. president in The 28th Amendment, a thriller that was to be directed by Phillip Noyce and co-star Denzel Washington. But now Variety has delivered a hold-your-horses on that story, saying Amendment is being set aside in favor of something else: an espionage thriller called Edwin A. Salt.

This one will star Cruise as a CIA agent accused of being a traitor. He has to go on the lam long enough to clear his name, find the real bad guy, etc.; you know the drill. The film has been in the works as a star vehicle for Cruise for some time, with Terry George and Peter Berg at various times attached to direct it. (The screenplay was written by Kurt Wimmer, author of the recent flop Street Kings.) Now it looks like the reins will go to Noyce, who previously made the action flicks Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger.

The 28th Amendment sounds fine, and no doubt it will still get made with a different director and co-star for Denzel. But I really like the sound of Edwin A. Salt. Noyce is a very solid director, with 2002's double-whammy of Rabbit-Proof Fence and The Quiet American still looming large in my memory, and he's generally made serious, respectable films (Sliver notwithstanding). We don't know yet how Cruise's troubled Valkyrie will turn out, but Edwin A. Salt -- a heroic role guided by a smart director -- could be a wise move for his next project.