Alec Baldwin is in negotiations to join Tom Cruise in Paramount Pictures' Mission: Impossible 5, while The White Queen star Rebecca Ferguson has emerged as the top choice to play the female lead.

If a deal is finalized, Alec Baldwin will play a high-ranking CIA officer who oversees the division lead by Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt. The role is reportedly similar to Laurence Fishburne's Theodore Brassel in 2006's Mission: Impossible III.

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No formal offer has been issued to Rebecca Ferguson, but the actress is reportedly the top choice of both Tom Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie. Jessica Chastain was offered the role back in April, but she ultimately passed because she could not commit enough time to the extensive shoot. Sources indicate that the studio wants the actress to start training in the near future, which would go all the way through to production, scheduled to wrap in January. While Rebecca Ferguson has the right look the producers are looking for, her schedule also allows her to fully commit to the part.

Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg are expected to reprise their roles from 2011's Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol.

Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher) is directing from a script by Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3), based on characters created by Bruce Geller from the Mission: Impossible TV series. J.J. Abrams and Tom Cruise are producing with Skydance Productions' David Ellison. It isn't known when production will begin, but Paramount has issued a December 25, 2015 release date for the sequel.

Alec Baldwin most recently starred in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, and he will next be seen in the Untitled Cameron Crowe Project. Rebecca Ferguson will next be seen in Paramount's Hercules, arriving in theaters July 25.