According to Variety, DreamWorks' longtime plan to revive spy Matt Helm has taken on new life, with the signing of Michael Brandt and Derek Haas to write a new pic. The scribe team, in a high-six-figure deal, will pen a contemporary pic based on the subject of 20-plus potboiler novels by Donald Hamilton.

Helm is a former spy during WWII who, upon retiring from his top-secret organization, unsuccessfully attempts to put his past behind him.

Columbia Pictures released four Matt Helm-inspired spy spoofs starring Dean Martin, beginning with The Silencers in 1966.

DreamWorks has dabbled with the idea of a Helm franchise before and a few years ago set up a project with producers Jennifer and Suzanne Todd. That film never came to fruition and is not related to the new Brandt and Haas project, which DreamWorks' Marc Haimes is overseeing.

The first Helm book was "Death of a Citizen," published in 1960.

Brandt and Haas recently completed Wanted for Universal. Based on the comicbook series, Wanted is planned as a 2006 tentpole. The pair are also rewriting Robert Rodat's draft of the Tom Clancy novel "Red Rabbit" for Paramount and producer Mike Ovitz.

The Capitalist, Michael Brandt's directorial debut (which Haas will produce), is being developed at Focus Features. Project is a remake of French pic An Honest Tradesman.