Actor says he wants to keep playing Ethan Hunt for as long as fans will let him

Tom Cruise has spoken out about his plans for Mission: Impossible 5.

The actor first assumed the role of spy Ethan Hunt in 1996 and has since gone on to star in several subsequent films in the franchise, with the fourth and most recent installment, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, being released in December last year.

In an interview with Total Film, Cruise said he still wanted to “make a bunch” of future films in the series and would carry on making the movies for as long as fans wanted to see them.

“I started Mission: Impossible hoping I could make many of them,” he said. “It’s a character that I can grow with. At that time it was the most expensive film in the history of Paramount Pictures, and the first film I was producing.

“It’s been pretty exciting. I’ll make a bunch of those. I’ll make as many as people want to see… because they’re very challenging, and so much fun to make.”

Speaking about his tentative plans for a fifth instalment, meanwhile, he revealed: “We’re already working on different images. Talking conceptually. I love travelling around promoting different movies because I’m always looking at different places, and I always walk around to see the city. I look at architecture, subways… coming up with different sequences.”

Cruise’s next film will be Jack Reacher, in which he will take on the titular role as the antihero from a popular series of novels by British author Lee Child. Reacher is a former military police officer turned vigilante who wanders the US as a drifter. The film finds him on the hunt for a sniper who has just killed five people in a major US city.

The casting has drawn criticism from some fans of the novels, however, who feel that Cruise lacks the stature and tough guy image to play Reacher. The character written by Child is said to stand at 6ft 5in tall and have a 50-inch chest.

Alongside Cruise in the title role, Jack Reacher stars Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo and Werner Herzog. It opens in cinemas on December 21 in the US and December 28 in the UK – scroll down and click below to watch the trailer.