Duo to star in James Mangold-directed film

Tom Cruise is zeroing in on the 20th Century Fox action comedy, formerly titled “Wichita,” as his next star vehicle.

He’ll pair with Cameron Diaz in the James Mangold-directed film. That ends a serious courtship that the star had since January with some of the highest-profile projects in Hollywood.

According to sources, Cruise and Diaz have approved the script, and their deals are in advanced negotiations. While Fox has not officially dated the picture, sources said the studio is eyeing a summer 2010 release.

The script has been through many machinations, but the most recent drafts were done by Scott Frank, with Mangold currently fine-tuning the script with Laeta Kalogridis (“Shutter Island”). Two-hander has several action scenes.

Cruise will play a secret agent who pops in and out of the life of a single woman.

Todd Garner, Kathy Conrad, Steve Pink and Joe Roth are producing the pic.

Since the opening of “Valkyrie,” Cruise has been courted for and has shown serious interest in the Len Wiseman-directed DreamWorks thriller “Motorcade”; the Bharat Nalluri-directed Spyglass remake “The Tourist”; the David Cronenberg-directed MGM drama “The Matarese Circle”; the Universal/Working Title romantic comedy “Lost for Words”; and “The 28th Amendment,” the Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck-directed Warner Bros. thriller.

The competition for the slot came down to “Wichita” and “Motorcade.” It is possible that Cruise might do one of the other projects down the line.

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