Tim Stack
November 03, 2006 AT 05:00 AM EST

One would have presumed that Tom Cruise would be focused on preventing his wedding DJ from playing the chicken dance at his upcoming nuptials. But, ever the professional, the actor eschewed marriage talk for just long enough to announce some potentially career-salvaging plans last week.

It turns out that Cruise is circling three films: Lions for Lambs, an independent drama about soldiers in Afghanistan; Selling Time, a Spike Lee flick about a man who auctions off chunks of his life to relive one particular day; and The Ha-Ha, an adaptation of Dave King’s novel about a mute Vietnam veteran charged with caring for a 9-year-old orphan. His camp has to be hoping that one of those works, because no one needs a hit more. As everyone knows, the past year has been rocky for Cruise, with endless tabloid coverage, Mission: Impossible III‘s disappointing box office, and the unceremonious eviction of his production company from the Paramount lot, courtesy of Sumner Redstone.

So what to make of these choices? Lambs sounds like a return to the edgy kind of material that garnered him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for Magnolia. The other two are solid, star-driven projects that seem to be aimed at wooing back his female fans. Cruise’s rep says the actor doesn’t have a definite time frame for returning to work, but we’re guessing — and in the name of taste, hoping — it’ll be as soon as the honeymoon’s over.

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