Mission: Impossible 3: During a recent interview with USA Today, director J.J. Abrams talked briefly about directing the upcoming continuation of the Mission: Impossible franchise...

During this interview, he has to take a break to talk with an actress about a role in Mission: Impossible 3, the Tom Cruise vehicle that will be Abrams' feature-film directing debut. And that's before he checks in on four projects being considered for the fall TV schedule.

Like Felicity, Alias has been a critics' darling. It made Garner a star and wowed Cruise enough to hand Abrams the keys to M:I-3 after viewing the series' first two seasons — all 44 episodes. Abrams is "a brilliantly creative artist who really gets the franchise," says Cruise, whose earlier M:I ventures were directed by veterans Brian De Palma and John Woo. "I enjoy shaking things up and allowing each director his vision."

Abrams is thrilled about M:I-3, but he says even that had to be viewed through other work and family responsibilities. His wife — "the most wonderfully, brutally honest person I know" — said he had too much on his plate. He told Cruise he couldn't start shooting until after he finished the TV season. Cruise agreed to wait.

Related: Mission: Impossible 6 Wins the Weekend Box Office with $61.5M

Action scenes and special effects will remain an M:I-3 staple, Abrams says, but his take will focus on who Cruise's Ethan Hunt is, "not just what he can do."

With M:I-3 coming on the heels of Alias and Lost, Abrams' description of the career opportunity sounds as adrenaline-stoked as the life of an international spy.

"It's such a crazy dream," he says. "The idea of taking a franchise that has the potential to be such a thrill ride, such an emotional and visceral experience, and to be given a chance to realize that potential — it's the most exciting thing in the world."

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.