The root cause behind the relative longevity of the Mission: Impossible franchise is how each installment adds new delights to the familiar formula. Ethan Hunt and the IMF do pretty much the same thing in each of the five films in the series — recon, planning, Tom Cruise runs somewhere, sex scene, Tom Cruise drives a car off a cliff, Tom Cruise runs somewhere else except now he’s shirtless, you get the drift — but every new sequel brings some intriguing new appeal to the usual product. The clear breakout of the most recent film Rogue Nation was Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust, MI6 operative deep undercover in the criminal organization known only as the Syndicate. She kicked ass while acting hers off, and audiences responded with a swell of affection for this new discovery from across the Atlantic.

It was inevitable, then, that a sharp-eyed studio executive would snap her up for a leading role in some big-name picture. That picture has now been revealed as Skydance’s sci-fi flick Life, according to a new item from Variety. With a script from Deadpool screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, and Child 44 director Daniel Espinosa behind the wheel after his departure from the Assassin’s Creed movie, Life will feature Ferguson as one of the astronauts on the International Space Station. Along with her to-be-named colleagues, she receives a sample of organic material from Mars and is surprised to find it displaying signs of life shortly after coming onboard. The Variety item claims it “proves to be more intelligent than expected,” but it doesn’t quite clear up what sort of movie this is supposed to be.

The logline strongly smacks of Alien, suggesting a horror/thriller angle to the project. But the vagueness of this description, along with the maddeningly vague title of Life (and the superlative for Most Likely To Be Renamed Before Premiering goes to…) hints at a more thoughtful approach to sci-fi, perhaps along the lines of 2001. In any case, this is certainly an intriguing seedling of a project, and one to keep an eye on in the months ahead. Rebecca “Fergie” Ferguson has arrived, everyone.

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