In the minds of many, Rocketman was the best movie Paramount Pictures released last year, and now the studio is staying in business with director Dexter Fletcher on its action thriller The Saint.
Fletcher is considered a protege of Guy Ritchie, and this move reminds me of when Ritchie directed WB’s reboot of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. An eyebrow was raised at first, but he proved to be the right man for the job. Now, Fletcher doesn’t have any action on his resume, but he’s hot right now and he elicits strong performances from his actors, which is why they seem to love working with him.
Chris Pratt had been in talks to play Simon Templar, aka The Saint, but according to Variety’s Justin Kroll, who broke the news about Fletcher, the Jurassic World star passed about six months ago. Personally, I think it’s for the best, as this IP is kind of weak in my opinion. But what may be small potatoes for Pratt can simultaneously be the right fit for Fletcher. The Saint feels like a stepping stone to true blockbusters. A film that will allow him to get his feet wet on the action front.
The Saint is based on a series of old books written by Leslie Charteris in the 1920s. That series was turned into the British TV series The Saint, which was turned into a 1997 movie starring Val Kilmer. It was, to put it kindly, not good, which is why the property has lay dormant for more than 20 years. But today’s teens are too young to remember that movie, which is why Paramount is giving it another go. After all, this is a studio that managed to turn the Mission: Impossible TV series into Hollywood’s best active franchise for 25 years running.
Lorenzo Di Bonaventura (Transformers) will produce The Saint with Brad Krevoy, while the late Robert Evans will also receive a producer credit, having developed the project for many years. Seth Grahame-Smith wrote the latest draft of the script, which is aimed at starting a franchise around Templar, a Robin Hood-esque criminal and thief for hire.
Fletcher famously replaced Bryan Singer during the final few weeks of production on Bohemian Rhapsody before going on to direct Rocketman starring Taron Egerton, who previously starred in Fletcher’s lovely sports movie Eddie the Eagle. Fletcher has been in high demand since Rocketman, and he’s also attached to direct Universal’s monster movie Renfield, based on a character in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.