Cruise moves to front line

No lensing date set for 'Report'

Tom Cruise is circling “Fertig” at Columbia Pictures. The new, original screenplay from playwright and screenwriter William Nicholson caught the star’s interest several weeks ago.

“Fertig” is based on the real life of Wendell Fertig, an American soldier in the Philippines who became a hero in the Pacific Theater during World War II.

Pic is being produced at Columbia by former Col vice chairman Lucy Fisher and husband Doug Wicks’ Sony-based Red Wagon Prods. Fisher and Cruise last worked together on Col’s 1996 pic, “Jerry Maguire,” for which Cruise received an Oscar nom.

Cruise, meanwhile, along with Steven Spielberg, has been taking time to decide on when to begin lensing “Minority Report” for Fox. Both Cruise and Spielberg have reaffirmed to Fox topper Tom Rothman that they are firmly committed to making “Report,” based on a Phillip K. Dick sci-fi short story, but the question remains: When?

Nicholson most recently directed “Firelight” for Miramax and co-wrote the upcoming DreamWorks/Universal co-production of “Gladiator,” which Red Wagon is co-producing with Spielberg.

Col exec veepee Doug Belgrad will supervise the production of “Fertig” for the studio. No director is attached as yet.

Columbia execs were not available for comment. Calls placed to Red Wagon principals were not returned.

Cruise is repped by CAA, where his reps could not be reached for comment.

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