Continuing to place high priority on building out its own tent pole franchises, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. has signed Paul Verhoeven to direct the highly anticipated romantic thriller The Thomas Crown Affair 2, the second installment in MGM's highly successful The Thomas Crown Affair franchise. Rick Sands, MGM's Chief Operating Officer, made the announcement today.

The next installment of the Thomas Crown franchise sweeps across Europe and the Middle East as Crown becomes entangled in a centuries old feud and must decide how much he's truly willing to risk for love. MGM and Irish DreamTime will produce The Thomas Crown Affair 2. Brosnan and Beau St. Clair will serve as producers for Irish DreamTime along with D. Constantine Conte. The start date of production will be determined shortly.

"Thomas Crown is a rich blend of dramatic tension, high adventure, romance and just the right touch of humor," said Sands. "Paul's body of work demonstrates his ability to deftly combine those elements while telling a story that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats. His directorial talents complement Pierce's portrayal of the Thomas Crown character and we're all looking forward to an engaging and entertaining film."

St. Clair said, "MGM came to us after the first film with the idea that Thomas Crown was an intriguing, modern character worthy of a franchise. So Pierce and I talked a lot about how to continue his story in a different and surprising way. Given our ambitions, to put Crown in an international setting with a bigger set of challenges, we couldn't have found a more ideal director than Paul Verhoeven."

Added Brosnan, "Paul is on board to make a sexy, intelligent film and we're very pleased to be working with him and also pleased to be continuing our partnership with MGM."

"I love to tease the audience, to challenge their expectations for characters and storylines," said Verhoeven. "This movie provides an incredible opportunity to push and pull the audience, whether through intense action and suspense or light-handed humor. I'm very much looking forward to working with Pierce, his Irish DreamTime team and MGM."

Recognized for his provocative and often controversial directorial vision, Verhoeven's most recent film is the critically acclaimed Black Book. Previous work includes the box office smash hits Basic Instinct, Total Recall, Robocop, Starship Troopers and Hollow Man. The Dutch director first came to prominence in the U.S. after his World War II drama Soldier of Orange and The Fourth Man, a mixture of film noir fatalism and supernatural forebodings.

In addition to The Thomas Crown Affair 2