Tom Cruise: Simon Baker/Getty Images
Gary Susman
June 03, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Tom Cruise has played unlikable jerks before (notably, the pony-tailed sex guru in ”Magnolia,”) but he’s never played someone evil. Until now. Variety reports that the usually heroic Cruise is in talks to star as a villain for ”Heat” director Michael Mann in the DreamWorks crime thriller ”Collateral.”

The film is one of several ideas Mann has been kicking around in his search for a follow-up to 2001’s ”Ali,” and he and Cruise have long wanted to work together, Variety reports. ”Collateral” would star Cruise as a hitman who pursues his quarry one night in Los Angeles in a novel way: He forces a cab driver at gunpoint to tail the intended victim. Let’s hope he remembers to ask the driver for a receipt.

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