Anthony Minghella will directTom Cruise in a screen adaptation of the US Civil War bestseller ColdMountain next summer, producerSydney Pollack reportedly confirmed from Australia this morning. The film is a co-production betweenMGM and Miramax Films.

Cruise would take the lead roleof Inman, a wounded confederate soldier who embarks on a long and perilousjourney from the ravages of war back home to his pre-war sweetheart, Ada, inNorth Carolina.

In author CharlesFrazier's 1997 book, Inman's odyssey through the devastated landscapeof the soon-to-be-defeated South is interwoven with Ada's struggle torevive her father's farm.

The film is being produced byPollack and Minghella's Mirage Enterprises with Albert Berger and RonYerxa's Bona Fide Prods. Location scouting has already begun in North Carolinaand Canada with a June production start in mind.

"I'm doing ColdMountain with Tom Cruise and AnthonyMinghella and we're in deep preparation for that at the moment," Pollack toldReuters in Sydney where he is in post-production on Phillip Noyce's TheQuiet American.

Pollack has already workedwith Cruise, directing him in The Firm and co-starring with him in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut.