While Paramount is currently in production on the next installment of its Transformers franchise with Transformers: The Last Knight, the studio is planning on launching a much different franchise. The studio has acquired the rights to Leslie Charteris' long-running book series The Saint for a new movie reboot. The studio previously distributed the 1997 version of The Saint, which starred Val Kilmer and Elizabeth Shue.
Leslie Charteris original book series, which ran from 1928 to 1963, followed Simon Templar, a thief who would pull off elaborate heists, stealing from corrupt politicians, drug dealers and other criminals and spread their wealth among the less fortunate. The books were adapted into a 1960s British TV series which starred Roger Moore as Simon Templar. There was also a recent attempt to revitalize the property as an American TV series, which will now be released as a TV movie later this year, starring Adam Rayner (Tyrant) as Simon Templar, along with Eliza Dushku, Thomas Kretschmann, Greg Grunberg and Roger Moore.
Deadline reports that Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Brad Krevoy and Robert Evans are set to produce for Paramount, with their deals currently being finalized. No writer or director is attached at this time, but we'll have to see how quickly this project moves forward now that it has a studio home. Other producers such as Mace Neufeld, Bill McDonald, David Brown and Val Kilmer were once attached, but it doesn't seem that they are involved anymore.
The producers hope to launch a modern-day franchise with The Saint, a property which would certainly be more relevant in today's modern age of technology, terrorism and corruption. It isn't known if this reboot will provide an origin story for Simon Templar, but it could be possible since the studio wants to launch a franchise. The 1997 version of The Saint took in $61.3 million domestically and $118 million worldwide, under the direction of Philip Noyce.
Paramount is one of the few studios that doesn't have any superhero properties, although their Transformers franchise has been quite lucrative, earning $3.7 billion through the first four movies. The studio also has the G.I. Joe franchise, with G.I. Joe 3 still languishing in development, but a rebooted version of The Saint could be quite successful as well. We'll be sure to keep you posted with more updates on this project.