When rising star Jeremy Renner was cast as Tom Cruise's co-starring equal in the next 'Mission: Impossible' film, now known to be titled 'Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol,' rumor spread that the franchise would continue afterward without Cruise, while Renner would take over as the series' lead in further installments. This week MTV News spoke to the recently Oscar-nominated actor, who has been busy shooting the film with Cruise in Dubai, and received a slight confirmation: "It's a franchise to potentially take over," he is quoted as saying. "I can't predict the future and what they want, but that's certainly the idea."

That may be the "idea," but so far it's still apparently unofficial or merely undecided. And Renner wouldn't, or couldn't, acknowledge there's a clear plan for this inheritance written into the 'Ghost Protocol' script, admitting that the details are "still evolving." This sounds like the screenplay is still being worked on, which is fine given that Cruise and Renner are currently concentrating on action sequences. Renner calls these "insane" and implies Cruise is doing the majority of the stunts, at least for now. Renner has, however, been training in hand-to-hand combat, Muay Thai and kung fu "and learned how to take a guy out quickly." When asked what his most extreme stunt was, he answered, "everything."

Renner revealed that he hasn't had a chance to do much acting yet on the 'Ghost Protocol' shoot, but when he does we can expect him to knock the balance of action and acting out of the park, just as he did in 'The Hurt Locker' and to some degree in 'The Town,' a film for which he deserves another Oscar nomination (this time for performance in a supporting role). Not that we should be looking for award-worthy thespian work in a 'Mission: Impossible' movie, especially since director Brad Bird ('The Incredibles') hasn't proven he can get great performances from live human actors like he has from animated superheroes, robots and culinary rodents.

'Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol' is set to finish filming next Spring and arrive in theaters December 16, 2011.

CATEGORIES Movies, Cinematical