‘Mission’ more impossible

Scarlett Johansson (“Lost in Translation”) and Carrie-Anne Moss (“The Matrix” trilogy) have quit the second “Mission: Impossible” sequel because of ongoing delays, reports IMDB.com.

The two in-demand actresses were slated to team up with Tom Cruise in “M:I 3” but director J.J. Abrams says he has had to let them go because of scheduling problems around the film’s script.

“The script was rewritten,” Abrams said. “I’m a huge fan of each actor that they cast originally, but to have kept the actors when we are reinventing the story would have been an odd process. To say, “Write a script with these people in mind for characters that haven’t been written,’ just felt like we had to start over with a clean slate.”

Abrams, who has yet to announce his replacements for the project, is committed to starting the shoot in July.

– Knight Ridder Newspapers

Expensive taste at auction

Constantin Brancusi’s balletic sculpture, “Bird in Space,” was sold by Christie’s this week for the mind-boggling sum of $27,450,000, a record for a sculpture sold at auction.

The old mark, also for a Brancusi piece, was for “Danaide,” which sold for $18,159,500 three years ago.

Christie’s had estimated the piece, which the Romanian-born artist made in 1921 and 1922, would go for $8 mil to $12 mil, tops.

– Knight Ridder Newspapers

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