Stiller & Cruise ARE The Hardy Men

Bloody hell - it's true!

We don't mind admitting that when one Empire staffer posted a story last week that Shawn Levy mentioned a desire to direct an update of The Hardy Boys starring Tom Cruise and Ben Stiller, some of us fobbed it off as the kind of loose talk that gets misinterpreted in press conferences.

But no, we scoffers were wrong. It's real, and 20th Century Fox are putting money into The Hardy Men, which, according to their announcement, will have a similar sense of fun to Mr & Mrs Smith. Although there's no screenwriter (and, obviously therefore, no screenplay) yet, but the pitch is that the boys, long since grown up and estranged, are brought together to solve one last case.

The project stems as much from Stiller as much as Levy. Apparently producer Robert Kosberg brought the Hardy Boys rights (which he already owned) to Stiller's production company Red Hour eight years ago.

Ben and Tom are close friends (thanks primarily to Stiller's penchant for impersonating Cruise, which the action star likes very much – see: Mission: Improbable here), and while the Night At The Museum star will also co-produce The Hardy Men, he's also busy on another film over at Dreamworks, Tropic Thunder, which he'll direct, and hopes to secure the services of the Olympic couch-jumper as his star.

Fox are hoping to get cameras rolling on The Hardy Men in 2008, as each of the stars has a project already on the boil – Cruise is a part of Michael Carnahan's Lion's For Lambs with Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, while Stiller is reteaming with the Farrelly Brothers on The Seven Day Itch.