Universal Pictures is in exclusive talks to finance and distribute Joseph Kosinski’s “Oblivion” with Tom Cruise in early talks to star.Other studios were vying for the sci-fi pic but Universal has now become the front-runner for it. William Monahan wrote the script with Karl Gajdusek penning the most recent draft. Pic is based off an idea by Kosinski that Radical Publishing turned into a graphic novel by Barry Levine. Story takes place in an apocalyptic future where most of the population lives in clouds above an earth surface that is now uninhabitable. An earthbound soldier, repairing drones that patrol and blast a savage alien life form, encounters a beautiful woman who crashed in a craft that forces him to question his world view. The pic had been at Disney which passed because its current business model and the fact that the film would be PG-13 and Disney wanted a PG version also played into Kosinki shopping it around to other studios. Kosinski most recently directed “Tron: Legacy” for Disney. He is repped by Verve.