Friday, June 21, 2024

Mission Mystery: Nicholas Hoult, 30, Replaced in Tom Cruise Franchise by Esai Morales, 57, as Film’s Villain


Something stinks in Hollywood this morning.

Nicholas Hoult, a rising star, hot, young, just 30 years old was supposed to play a villain in the next two “Mission Impossible” movies. Now, he’s out.

Esai Morales, a very good actor we all like, who rose to fame in “La Bamba,” is replacing him without even a script change. Morales will be 58 in October, the same age Tom Cruise will achieve in six weeks, on July 3rd. reported the news first but didn’t question it.

Is it a case of reverse age-ism? That would be a first. Or was Hoult making Tom Cruise nervous? The official word on this that Hoult couldn’t do it because of “scheduling changes.” Indeed, “Mission Impossible 7” is late starting its shoot because of the pandemic. But every movie is, and Hoult does not have another project listed on the imdb. He was scheduled for these two “Mission Impossible” movies, which would have given his career a gigantic boost.

But if you Cruise, you lose. “Mission Impossible” has already chewed up and spit out other younger actors like Jeremy Renner and Henry Cavill, each of whom was terrific in the series. Both of those actors got such good notices that fans wondered if they’d succeed Cruise in the franchise. But Tom Cruise, who will be 61 when the 8th installment appears, will play Ethan Hunt until he’s scaling a nursing home, don’t you worry.

As for Hoult, he’s hitting his stride. He’s probably bummed about this news, but youth will triumph. We’ll be seeing a lot him in the next fifteen years. His mission is not impossible.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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