Not everything in Hollywood is comic book and video game adaptations. Sometimes there are book aaptations as well. Recently we learned that Universal Studios is looking to build a franchise off of Robert Ludlum’s various espionage thriller novels. Now Paramount is looking to a series of books that they are hoping to bring to the screen in a recurring franchise.
Deadline is reporting that the studio has just acquired the film rights to Leslie Charteris’s The Saint novels. Centering on gentleman thief Simon Templar, the series saw its titular nicknamed hero going taking on greed and corruption in defense of the little guy as a modern day take on Robin Hood. The site is reporting that Robert Evans, who was on the producing team of the 1997 film version of the books which starred Val Kilmer, Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Brad Krevoy are in talks to produce. Once those deals are in place, I expect them to start looking for a writer and director to steer the project through development.
Charteris’s novels were published between 1928 and 1963 and were a hit with the public. Starting in 1938, RKO produced a series of eight Saint films. The first, The Saint In New York, starred Louis Hayward as Templar. But it was George Sanders who took over the role for the second installment and, over the course of his five films as Templar, cemented his suave characterization as the definitive in the mind’s of moviegoers. The character also made the transition to radio, appearing on separate series in the US, England and Ireland during the 1940s. A pre-James Bond Roger Moore played Templar on TV in the 1960s, and was followed up by Ian Ogilvy in the late 1970s and Simon Dutton a decade later. The character’s last big screen adventure was the aforementioned 1997 film, though fans of the character thought it was a far cry from how Charteris originally wrote him.