Cruise Follows in Orson Welles' Footsteps

Tom Cruise has announced plans to produce a new film version of the H.G. Wells alien-invasion saga The War of the Worlds.

Cruise and producing partner Paula Wagner have partnered with Paramount Pictures to make the film about Martians who obliterate Earth's human defenses only to succumb to the planet's viruses.

The tale was most memorably told by Orson Welles in his infamous 1938 radio broadcast. That Mercury Theater production was performed in the style of a breaking news report, a gimmick so successful that it created a panic among listeners who believed aliens were actually attacking Earth.

A 1953 film adaptation, produced by B-moviemaker George Pal, starred Gene Barry as a scientist who witnessed the fearsome power of the Martians.

It's unclear whether Cruise would only work behind the scenes or star in the film, which is scheduled for production in 2003.

Cruise has previously served as producer on his Mission: Impossible movies and the films Without Limits and The Others, in which he did not appear on-screen.