Unless you're a big fan of ET -- that is, Entertainment Tonight, not the extra-terrestrial -- you probably missed the first brief look at Lions for Lambs, Robert Redford's next film that has him directing as well as starring with Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep. Back in November, Chris Ullrich told us about Cruise's decision to take on the role, having been handed a whole selection of films to choose from. Was it the right choice? If you liked A Few Good Men and want to see him earnest in a suit, then probably. If you didn't, maybe not.

The movie is about 3 intertwined stories -- a senator debating a crisis in Afghanistan, the reporter who made his career and a professor who is teaching political science and trying to convince a student not to give up his studies and head there. As the clip shows us -- Cruise is the Senator, Streep is the Journalist and Redford is the Professor. In Tommy's first scene, he stands up to look more imposing and less teeny to the sitting Meryl, then she takes over to talk about how a "we" failed to connect the dots and Redford then says: "Rome* is burning, son." And man, that guy can put a lot of heat behind a few words, much more so than Cruise. You can't really go wrong with two of the three pieces, but I'm not so sure about the third which really seems to make for risky business. I've actually liked a lot of Cruise's work, and have enjoyed him as a vet, a vampire and even a disfigured man. But a senator? I'm not so sure.

*Thanks to Allison for the correction. Good ear! MB