Branagh on ‘Mission’

Par taps thesp for third 'Impossible' outing

Paramount Pictures has tapped Kenneth Branagh to star opposite Tom Cruise in “Mission: Impossible 3.”

British thesp joins Carrie-Anne Moss and Ving Rhames in the cast of the action franchise sequel, expected to start lensing this summer for a May 2005 release.

“Narc” director Joe Carnahan will helm “M:I 3,” to be produced by Cruise and Paula Wagner via their Par-based C/W Prods. Cruise will again portray agent Ethan Hunt.

Branagh recently starred in Capitol Films’ “Five Children and It,” an adaptation of the Edith Nesbit novel, with Zoe Wanamaker and Freddie Highmore. He was nominated for actor and director Oscars for “Henry V” and for adapted screenplay for “Hamlet.”

Writers on “Mission: Impossible 3” have included Dean Georgaris, Robert Towne, Dan Gilroy and Frank Darabont. Paramount grossed $1 billion worldwide from the first two “Mission: Impossible” films.

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