Paramount is rebooting the 1997 action movie The Saint and the studio wants Star Trek star Chris Pine to lead the cast. As previously announced, the movie will be directed by Dexter Fletcher (Rocketman) using a screenplay written by Seth Grahame-Smith (The LEGO Batman Movie). Also on board to work on the project behind the camera are Lorenzo Di Bonaventura (Transformers) alongside Brad Krevoy and Mark Vahradian as producers. The late Robert Evans, who helped produce the 1997 version, was also serving as a producer until he passed away last year.
Inspired by the original book series from author Leslie Charteris, the movie will follow Simon Templar, a “Robin Hood-esque criminal and thief for hire” also known as “The Saint.” In the 1997 version, this role was played by Val Kilmer, and this is also likely the role Pine is in negotiations to take on for the project.
In the Kilmer movie, The Saint is portrayed as a master of disguise who uses his abilities to thrive in the underworld of high-tech espionage. Directed by Phillip Noyce, the original movie also starred Elisabeth Shue and Rade Šerbedžija. It was a box office success, though Kilmer’s role did earn him a Worst Actor Razzie nomination at the time and no sequels were ever produced.
No other live-action adaptations of The Saint have been made since the Kilmer movie left theaters, but several were developed in the years before. He was first portrayed by Louis Hayward in the 1938 classic The Saint in New York, appearing in over a dozen other movies in the following years. Also appearing in a variety of television movies, Simon Templar was portrayed by Roger Moore in a TV series based on The Saint which ran from 1962 to 1969. While not quite as popular as James Bond, another fictional spy once previously portrayed by Moore, the Simon Templar character has been around for decades with more movie and TV appearances than modern audiences may realize.
Chris Pine is very well known for leading the rebooted Star Trek movie series, so he’s certainly experienced in relaunching an established franchise with success. He has also earned acclaim for his performances in the TNT television series We Are the Night along with movies like Wonder Woman, Outlaw King, and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. He is also set to reprise his role from the original movie in the upcoming sequel Wonder Woman: 1984, and while the movie is still scheduled to be released in August as of now, it’s very possible the movie could end up seeing a delayed release date like so many others.
Reportedly, Paramount is looking at this new movie version of The Saint as the potential start of a new long-running movie franchise. It’s unclear when the project will begin production, but given the delays of all other major movie and television projects, cameras probably won’t begin rolling anytime soon. Still, this will be something to look out for for those of us seeking more spy-centric fiction after the 25th James Bond movie, No Time to Die, finally sees its own release.
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