'The Saint': 'Rocketman's Dexter Fletcher To Direct Paramount's Thriller Remake

Since 2016, Paramount Pictures has been interested in producing a new version of The Saint, which began as a series of novels before becoming a TV series starring future James Bond actor Roger Moore and then a big budget movie in 1997 starring Val Kilmer. Now Paramount has finally found its The Saint remake director: Dexter Fletcher, the filmmaker behind last year's Elton John musical Rocketman.

Variety reports that Fletcher will take the reins on The Saint, which follows a British protagonist named Simon Templar, aka "The Saint," a master of disguise who started out as a Robin Hood-type figure specializing as a thief and a con man, eventually evolved into secret agent during World War II, and later became more of an all-purpose adventurer. The character's calling card is a stick figure with an angelic halo, which he would leave at the scene of all of his crimes – often after he'd robbed corrupted politicians or comically evil rich people so he could "redistribute" their ill-gotten wealth.

Author Leslie Charteris started writing The Saint novels back in the 1920s, and the character has since been a part of several radio, TV, comic book, and film adaptations. Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) wrote this screenplay, and Lorenzo Di Bonaventura (Transformers, G.I. Joe) is producing along with Brad Krevoy, who produced a 2017 version of The Saint and likely retained the rights to the property. Legendary producer Robert Evans, who practically single-handedly saved Paramount from bankruptcy back in the 1970s and who died last October, will also receive a posthumous producer credit.

Variety's report makes no mention of Chris Pratt, who was rumored to be in talks to star in this iteration back in 2018. As far as I'm concerned, that's for the best: Pratt never struck me as the right fit for this "master of disguise" character, and now that Fletcher is involved, I can't stop thinking about Taron Egerton in the lead role. He's worked with Fletcher multiple times already on Rocketman and the underseen sports drama Eddie the Eagle, and from what we've seen thus far, Egerton is a much more adaptable actor than Pratt. No actors have been confirmed to be involved with this project yet.

There's no word yet if Fletcher will tackle The Saint before or after his Dracula-adjacent Renfield movie for Universal, but we'll keep you updated as soon as we learn more. In the meantime, check out the trailer for the 1997 Val Kilmer movie and the 2017 made-for-TV version of The Saint below: