EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures today will clinch has clinched its deal with Tom Cruise to reprise his role as Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible 4. Cruise will produce the film with J.J. Abrams. They are looking for a director, but screenwriters Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec are already attached to write the script. The intention is to make this Cruise’s next film and start shooting by summer for a Memorial Day 2011 weekend release. And I can definitively say that, despite chatter to the contrary, MI4 will be very much of an Ethan Hunt pic with Cruise as the main character. Gee, remember the bad old days when Cruise and Paramount parent company Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone were on the outs? Guess that old Hollywood saying is as true as ever: “I’ll never work with him again — until I need him.” I hear Paramount is really excited about relaunching the franchise, which has grossed over $1.4 billion globally. “Tom and J.J. are great talents and we are excited to be working with them to re-launch this legendary franchise,” said Paramount Pictures Chairman & CEO Brad Grey. I’m told the MI4 deal has been restructured (i.e. brought down to earth) to make it more like recent Industry tentpole deals where everyone shares the risk. MI4 is being co-financed by David Ellison’s Skydance Productions. Cruise just completed the film Knight and Day for 20th Century Fox with a July 2nd release date. It has James Mangold directing and Cameron Diaz co-starring.