Gentleman criminal and adventurer The Saint is to make a comeback as a two-hour TV film, reportedly starring James Purefoy (pictured), that could lead to the production of a new show.
Media reports picked up by saint.org indicate Sir Roger Moore, who played the suave international thief Simon Templar in the 1960s British series, has teamed up with US producers Barry (Homicide: Life on the Street) Levinson and Tom (Homicide: Life on the Street, St. Elsewhere) Fontana, writer Jorge (Witchblade, Millennium) Zamacona, feature producer Bill Macdonald and Geoffrey Moore, his son.
Levinson is reported to be directing the pilot, which will be produced independently by the Macdonald, Moore and Zamacona’s Templar Entertainment Group, who acquired the TV rights to Charteris’ novels in 2004. The pilot will then be sold to US networks.
Filming on the one-off movie is set to begin next month (April 2008), with sets in Budapest, Hungary and Puerto Rico.
James Purefoy, who played Mark Antony in HBO’s Rome, is to play Templar, with casting under way for the other key parts in the pilot: Inspector Claud Eustace Teal, the Interpol agent in charge of tracking Templar; Templar’s romantic interest/assistant, Patricia Holm; and his enemy-turned-partner in crime, Baldwin Aleppo.
The Saint was originally the literary creation of Leslie Charteris, who wrote some 100 Saint stories, including 50 novels, in his lifetime and was never adverse to the many updatings of his character during his lifetime.
The most memorable media version of the character is undoubtedly Roger Moore‘s portrayal in the 1960s made for ITV, but The Saint was also the star of several films between 1938 and 1953 (and, most recently, in the disappointing 1997 film starring Val Kilmer), on radio and in comics such as Britain’s TV Tornado in the 1960s (right) and in a newspaper strip syndicated wordlwide by the New York Herald Tribune between 1948 and 1961, written by Charteris himself and later collected and reprinted as comic books. The Saint even had his own series of bubblegum cards…