Newton close to ‘Impossible’

Thesp in talks for lead in Woo-helmed sequel

Thandie Newton, who stars opposite Danny Glover and Oprah Winfrey in Buena Vista’s upcoming period drama “Beloved,” is close to a deal for the female lead in Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible” sequel.

Newton will join Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames and Dougray Scott in the John Woo-helmed actioner, which is skedded to start shooting in Australia in mid-January.

The pic, based loosely on the 1960s TV show, is being produced byCruise/Wagner Prods., as was the original.

In addition to the Jonathan Demme-helmed “Beloved,” which bows Oct. 16, Newton’s feature credits include “Gridlock’d,” “Interview with the Vampire” and “Jefferon in Paris.”

Newton is repped by ICM and manager Carol Bodie.

(Chris Petrikin contributed to this report.)

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