With 17 years' age difference between them, you wouldn't necessarily expect Tom Cruise and James McAvoy to be up for the same role, but according to Collider, that's exactly the situation that two of Hollywood's brightest stars currently find themselves in.

The movie that our favorite Scottish hottie and couch-jumping Scientologist are vying for is an enviable one; 'At the Mountains of Madness' is Guillermo del Toro's long-gestating passion project, a spooky adaptation of the acclaimed H.P. Lovecraft novella of the same name.

With 17 years' age difference between them, you might be surprised to hear of Tom Cruise and James McAvoy being up for the same role, but according to Collider, that's exactly the situation that two of Hollywood's brightest stars currently find themselves in.

The movie that our favorite Scottish hottie and couch-jumping Scientologist are vying for is an enviable one; 'At the Mountains of Madness' is Guillermo del Toro's long-gestating passion project, a spooky adaptation of the acclaimed H.P. Lovecraft novella of the same name.

'Mountains,' which has been on del Toro's to-do list since 2006, sounds vaguely reminiscent of 'The Thing' with its remote, arctic setting and threatening, inhuman monsters, and will certainly benefit from having James Cameron on board as an executive producer for its 3-D visuals. Collider provided a brief synopsis of the novella, snagged from Wikipedia:

"The story is written in first-person perspective by the geologist William Dyer, a professor from Miskatonic University. He writes to disclose hitherto unknown and closely kept secrets in the hope that he can deter a planned and much publicized scientific expedition to Antarctica. On a previous expedition there, a party of scholars from Miskatonic University, led by Dyer, discovered fantastic and horrific ruins and a dangerous secret beyond a range of mountains taller than the Himalayas."

We know what you're thinking: Tom Cruise can pull off professor/geologist about as well as Tom Hanks can pull off hunky symbologist, but according to reports, the man behind Les Grossman's fat-suit is del Toro's number-one choice for the role -- it's Universal who are pushing for McAvoy.

But who has the final say? The project is del Toro's brainchild, so it's unlikely that he'll be willing to compromise his artistic vision, even if that artistic vision includes Tom Cruise, whose last action/adventure flick, 'Knight and Day,' was a disastrous flop at the box office.

James McAvoyWhile the sparkle has come off Cruise's star in recent years thanks to his controversial off-screen escapades, McAvoy is undoubtedly on the rise, having starred in critical darlings such as 'Atonement' and 'The Last King of Scotland'. He's about to embark on filming Matthew Vaughn's 'X-Men: First Class,' a reboot of the beloved Marvel franchise that Brett Ratner ran into the ground in 2006 with 'The Last Stand' (bitter, moi?).

How del Toro and Universal spin this decision will have an undeniable impact on the final product, which begs the question; which is more marketable these days, fresh blood, or Hollywood royalty?

Tom Cruise hasn't really been a bankable action star since 2005-06 when he starred in 'War of the Worlds' and 'Mission: Impossible III,' which earned good coin if not critical praise. Since then, he's starred in 'Tropic Thunder' and 'Lions for Lambs,' which were ensemble pieces that didn't rely on Cruise's former star power, 'Valkyrie,' which was dismissed as disposable (while some critics mauled Cruise's performance) and the aforementioned 'Knight,' which is better left forgotten.

McAvoy's action credentials aren't much better, although critics were generally full of praise for his intense performance in 'Wanted,' even if the movie was far from Oscar-bait. He's undeniably one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood right now, and while 'Atonement' and 'Last King' put him on the critical radar, 'First Class' is likely to launch him into the stratosphere in terms of public recognition.

Our money's on McAvoy for this round. Tom Cruise is arguably past his prime and, following 'Knight's' underperformance, perhaps he doesn't have the chops to open a blockbuster anymore. We have a much easier time buying a bookish, shivering McAvoy being terrorized in the Arctic by unseen creatures than we do Cruise -- one sounds like a taut, psychological thriller and the other sounds like 'War of the Worlds' against a backdrop of ice instead of a city.

What do you think, 'fone fans? Does Cruise or McAvoy get your vote -- or are you pulling for Chris Pine, whose name has also been considered (but likely dismissed, since his schedule is crazy right now)?

Who's your pick for the 'Mountains' lead - Cruise or McAvoy?
Tom Cruise137 (29.2%)
James McAvoy288 (61.4%)
Chris Pine -- I don't care if he's too busy!44 (9.4%)
CATEGORIES Movies, Coming Soon