Spielberg and Cruise set to remake 'War of the Worlds'

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The Independent Online

Between them they have given the world a lovable alien and one of its leading pin-ups of the past decade, but now it seems Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise want to make another contribution to global entertainment - A Martian threat to all mankind.

Between them they have given the world a lovable alien and one of its leading pin-ups of the past decade, but now it seems Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise want to make another contribution to global entertainment - A Martian threat to all mankind.

The two Hollywood powerbrokers are in the final stages of preparations to bring H G Wells's science fiction classic The War of the Worlds to the screen in a big-budget epic.

Cruise, whose status as an all-action hero has been cemented by films from Top Gun to Minority Report, is expected to be the leading man in the story about an alien invasion of Earth.

The novel, written in 1898, entered entertainment history in 1938 when Orson Welles's Mercury Theatre group adapted it for radio. The performance was so realistic that it sparked nationwide panic in the US, which believed a Martian invasion was under way.

Work on the new film, which will be directed by Spielberg, could begin late next year, according to the Hollywood trade magazine Variety. The scriptwriter David Koepp, who worked on Jurassic Park and Spider-Man, will produce the screenplay.

The production will not be the first attempt to bring Wells's novel, which starts in London with crowds fleeing poison gas canisters released by Martian tripods, to the cinema. A Technicolor version in 1953 won an Oscar for its special effects.

Variety also reported that Spielberg's plans for a fourth instalment of the Indiana Jones series have stalled.

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