Late last night, Variety ran a story speculating that Steven Spielberg’s next directorial effort, his first since last year’s Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, would be Matt Helm, based on the series of Donald Hamilton espionage novels.
This afternoon, they have updated their story with the news that Spielberg will not be directing Matt Helm, but will be producing the film.
Hamilton’s series of books were adapted into a series of breezy comedic romps featuring Dean Martin back in the 1960s. But the tone of the books was far edgier, with Helm a virtual unstoppable, merciless killing machine. The property has been in development for the last several years, with writers Michael Brandt and Derek Haas working on a script adapting Hamilton’s first novel in the series, Death Of A Citizen. Variety reports that a rewrite was turned into Paramount last week. The studio is hoping that the film will be the first in a franchise for the studio.
It still remains to be seen what project Spielberg will next slide behind the camera for. Among the possibilities are one of the two remaining installments in the Tin Tin trilogy he is producing with Peter Jackson, a bio-pic of Abraham Lincoln and a dramatization of the trial of the Chicago 7.