Cruise set for directing bow

Tom Cruise is set to make his directing debut with a segment of Showtime’s upcoming anthology series “Fallen Angels.” The series of half-hour noirish tales , co-produced by Mirage Prods. and Propaganda Films, has an initial commitment from the cable network of six episodes.

Adapting short stories by such writers as Raymond Chandler, Jim Thompson and Cornell Woolrich, “Fallen Angels” episodes will be loosely linked in tone, theme and 1930s or ’40s setting. Screenwriters contracted to date include Scott Frank, Amanda Silver and Howard A. Rodman.

The Cruise-directed segment, “Frightening Frammis,” was adapted by Jon Robin Baitz from a Thompson story about a pair of scam artists. It will probably film in April, near the end of the series’ shooting schedule. The actor is currently before the cameras in Paramount’s “The Firm,” directed by Mirage principal Sydney Pollack.

The first tale in the series, to shoot in early March, is based upon William Campbell Gault’s “Dead-End for Delia.”

Gary Oldman will star as a homicide cop investigating the murder of a dance-hall girl.

Other directors doing segments are Jonathan Kaplan, Michael Mann, Steven Soderbergh and Alfonso Cuaron.

Additionally, the segments will have a wraparound involving a femme fatale character, Faye Friendly, created for the series.

Creative Artists, which represents Cruise, Mirage and Propaganda, was instrumental in bringing the different elements of the project together in the Showtime deal.

Sydney Pollack, William Horberg and Lindsay Doran are producing for Mirage and Steve Golin for Propaganda. Propaganda, through Manifesto Film Sales, will be selling the packaging internationally.

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