Tom Cruise: Nadege Tonnelle/
Gary Susman
September 10, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Once again, Tom Cruise feels the need? the need for speed. According to Variety, the ”Top Gun” star is hoping to climb back into the cockpit to play a fighter pilot in Paramount’s World War II drama ”The Few.” He’d play real-life war hero Billy Fiske, an Olympic athlete-turned-fighter pilot who led the group of American flyboys who covertly joined Britain’s Royal Air Force in 1940, well before the U.S. entered the war, violating the official American policy of neutrality and risking possible jail time. The role may also have Cruise doing something he’s never done on screen: die. Fiske was the first American pilot killed fighting the Germans.

”The Few” would reunite Cruise with some of his current collaborators. Directing is Michael Mann, who’s about to shoot Cruise’s first villain role in ”Collateral,” in which Cruise will play a hitman. In talks to write the script is John Logan, screenwriter of another Cruise war movie, ”The Last Samurai,” which opens in December.

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