Tom Cruise's front is no longer united.
After perhaps one anthrax scare too many, the actor's longtime production partner, Paula Wagner, has announced that she is leaving her chief executive post at the new United Artists to pursue projects independently.
She will retain her coownership in UA, the nearly century-old studio that she and Cruise revived after losing their spot on the Paramount lot in 2006, and she'll continue to work on her films that are already in the pipeline.
"I’ve truly relished working with my longtime partner Tom Cruise to revitalize United Artists, and I am proud of all that we’ve accomplished in the past two years, reinvigorating the brand and developing such a strong slate of films," Wagner said in a statement Wednesday.
Wagner owns the UA shingle with Cruise, whose role at the company isn't expected to be affected, and MGM.
"As much as I’ve enjoyed my time as an executive, I have longed to return to my true love, which is making movies, so that’s what I’ve decided to do," her statement continued. "I still believe in our vision for UA, and I am confident that [MGM CEO] Harry Sloan and our colleagues at MGM will see that vision through to reality."
Per Variety, she is expected to step down following the December 26 release of Bryan Singer's trouble-plagued (and not just because Cruise sports a German accent and an eye patch) World War II thriller Valkyrie.
"This was very hard for Tom. Everyone recognized that Paula has been a disaster. But to his credit, he wanted her to have an exit with honor," a source told L.A. Weekly's Deadline Hollywood blog, which predicted the shakeup on Monday.
The "disaster" claim was in reference to the production problems plaguing Valkyrie and the box-office flop that was UA's first effort, Lion for Lambs, both misfires that were rumored to be affecting the company's financing deals.