Collateral:Variety has learned that Michael Mann will next direct the DreamWorks drama Collateral, and he has Tom Cruise in his crosshairs to play the lead role of a contract killer.

Written by Stuart Beattie, with a rewrite by Frank Darabont, the script takes place on a single night. After a cabbie picks up a passenger, he and his car are taken hostage as a killer travels around Los Angeles to conduct his business.

Mann last directed Ali and he and Cruise have been trying to find a film in which they could work together. Filming will start in October.

Cruise doesn't have a deal yet, though one is expected. The actor has long expressed a desire to play a villain, and he may get his chance with the charismatic yet lethal passenger. If Cruise does indeed sign this film will be his next project.

Stay tuned....

Brian B.