Dexter Fletcher‘s Elton John biopic Rocketman was a success for Paramount last year, and the studio wants to do business with the filmmaker again. The studio has hired Fletcher to helm a reboot of action/thriller The Saint.
The Saint is based on a series of books written by Leslie Charteris in the 1920s. They revolved around Simon Templar, aka The Saint, a Robin Hood-esque criminal and thief for hire. Those books were turned into the British TV series The Saint, which itself was turned into a 1997 movie starring Val Kilmer. It was received poorly, and thus the IP has been dormant for more than 20 years.
The question naturally becomes why reboot The Saint at all? And it’s a fair question. But studios want any sort of built-in IP now, even something with the smallest sort of name recognition like this. While most of today’s filmgoing audience won’t even know what The Saint is, an older demographic might, which – in theory – provides a sturdy, built-in audience.
To be fair to Paramount, they’ve got a similar success story to compare The Saint to. Mission: Impossible was a mostly forgotten TV series to most in the 90s, but the studio managed to turn it into a much-loved action franchise that’s still running to this day. While it’s hard to imagine The Saint finding that same success, in Hollywood you never truly know what’s going to stick.
Chris Pratt had reportedly been in talks for the lead role when the project was in early development, but he has now passed on it. Which makes sense considering an actor of his stature is probably too big for a film like this. The Saint feels like the kind of action-thriller that will end up starring a talented up-and-comer, the kind of actor who uses it as a stepping stone for, say, a Marvel movie.
Seth Grahame-Smith has written the latest draft of the script, while Lorenzo Di Bonaventura (Transformers) will produce. Thanks to the success of Rocketman, this isn’t the only project Fletcher is attached to. He’s also on board to direct Universal’s monster movie Renfield, which is based on the character from Bram Stoker‘s Dracula.