It's Official: Brad Bird to Direct His First Live-Action Film With "MIssion: Impossible IV" 

As we told you last March, Brad Bird ("The Iron Giant," "The Incredibles," "Ratatouille") was one of the few directors being considered for "Mission: Impossible IV."

Well, it's now official, Bird will be directing Tom Cruise for the fourth installment which is due out in theaters 2011. Cruise told E! Online, “The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille – Brad is enormously talented and JJ and I are having a blast, cranking away...we’re having a lot of fun. I like working with people I just love hanging out with. You get to hang out and laugh and talk stories and movies and technology: what are we going to do?”

Bird beat out other "M:I 4" directing contenders such as "Zombieland's" Ruben Fleischer, and Edgar Wright ("Hot Fuzz").

Here's what we said in March:

Brad Bird may soon jump into live action! The director of "The Iron Giant," "The Incredibles," and "Ratatouille," is one of the few directors being considered for "Mission: Impossible IV" according to The Hollywood Reporter.

This is exciting! I've always regarded Bird as a great storyteller who knows how to mix action and emotion perfectly!

Tom Cruise and producer J.J. Abrams are busy looking for the perfect director for the fourth installment. Cruise will reprise his role as secret agent Ethan Hunt for the Paramount film set to open May 27, 2011. Production is set to begin this summer.

The other contenders to direct are "Zombieland's" Ruben Fleischer, and Edgar Wright ("Hot Fuzz").

If Bird is picked, "M:I-4" will be his first live-action film. He has been developing "1906" (about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake) as his possible live-action debut but according to THR, it is rumored to be stalled because of budgetary reasons. (My Disney source is still adamant in telling me that Bird is the creative force behind "Maleficent" -- the retelling of Sleeping Beauty from the evil queen's point of view that has Angelina Jolie being mentioned as a possible star)

The plot for "M:I-4" is being kept in tight wraps but Abrams worked on the story with screenwriters Andre Nemec and Josh Appelbaum.

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