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Cruise careens down Rome river on ‘Mission’

Actor accompanied by fiancee Katie Holmes
/ Source: Reuters

Actor Tom Cruise set pulses racing in central Rome Tuesday as he careened down the Tiber River in a speedboat during the first day of production on his next film, “Mission: Impossible 3.”

With St. Peter’s Basilica as a backdrop, the Hollywood heartthrob piloted the boat under statue-topped bridges, bringing river traffic to a standstill and wowing tourists.

“We were on our way to visit the Vatican, but St. Peter’s will be here tomorrow,” said Spanish student Ana Pinon, 21, as she peered down at the river. “Tom Cruise probably won’t be.”

Visitors scrambled to the top of the imposing Sant’Angelo Castle -- once a papal fortress during times political unrest -- to catch a better view of the star as he raced down the river in a polo shirt and dark sunglasses.

Cruise, who zooms around Rome and the Vatican as special agent Ethan Hunt in the third instalment of the action flick, smiled and waved to the crowds between shoots.

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Tom Cruise

He is reportedly accompanied by his fiance, actress Katie Holmes, and will be in Rome to shoot different scenes through Friday.

But it seems Cruise and the film’s director, J.J. Abrams, have come up against one truly impossible mission: filming inside the Vatican city state. Italian media said the Vatican denied them access.

Instead, they reportedly have recreated the interior of the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church in the southern Italian town of Caserta.

Hollywood studio Paramount Pictures said principal photography on the film, which is due for release in May, began on Tuesday.