Applebaum, Nemec to pen script for Paramount

Paramount Pictures and producers Tom Cruise and J.J. Abrams have officially lit the fuse on “Mission: Impossible IV,” setting Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec to write the screenplay.

While those scribes aren’t big feature names yet, they join a roster of writers who transitioned from Abrams TV series creations to pen the features he directs and produces through his Bad Robot banner.

Applebaum and Nemec spent four seasons with Abrams as co-exec producers of “Alias,” and they will script “M:I 4″ based on a story Abrams wrote with them.

While the only other commitments so far are for Cruise and Abrams to produce the film together, sources said that Cruise’s character, Ethan Hunt, will certainly be involved in an onscreen capacity. Pic is aimed for a 2011 release.

Applebaum and Nemec are the creators of the new ABC series “Happy Town” and previously created “October Road” and the U.S. version of “Life on Mars” for ABC.

“I’ve been looking forward to working with Josh and Andre again for years,” Abrams said. “Their sense of balance between character and action is wonderful, which I know is hugely important to Tom as well. We’re off to an exciting start, so, as usual, fingers crossed.”

Among other topnotchfeature scribes who emerged from Bad Robot TV series are Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who were writers and co-exec producers on “Alias” before teaming with Abrams to script his feature directorial debut, “Mission: Impossible III.” The duo wrote “Star Trek” and continue to collaborate with Abrams on “Fringe.” Drew Goddard, who penned the Abrams-produced “Cloverfield,” also came from “Alias” as a writer/co-producer, and he is a writer and co-exec producer on “Lost.” “Cloverfield” director Matt Reeves was writer and exec producer on “Felicity,” which Abrams exec produced.

The scribes are repped by WME.

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