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:
There’s one particularly telling and effective moment in The Skywalker Legacy, the feature-lenght documentary that’s included on the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker home release that sums up much of the ambivalence and consternation that some had with J.J. Abrams’ return to the Star Wars universe. After showing the intricate construction of a giant, practical snake monster, the doc cuts back to footage of Jabba The Hutt, that old analogue beast that slithered its way into our hearts. The sentiment is clear – we’re making movies like we used to! A celebration of practical effects, the dripping of k-y jelly to give viscosity just like the old costume days, it’s all there. There’s excitement on set, everyone talking about how amazing it looks, how lifelike, how this is how you’re supposed to do movies like this.
Cut to Visual Effects Supervisor Roger Guyett who shatters the myth, letting us know the creature was replaced by a CGI version in post.
Guyett’s resume is mighty. Having made his bones on groundbreaking films like Twister and Casper, he helped Spielberg bring the events of D-Day to screen in Saving Private Ryan, helped bring to life the best looking film in the Harry Potter series, Alfonso Cuarón’s Prisoner of Azkaban, and even made the theatrical version of Rent feel more than a stage production. Guyett has had many collaborations with Abrams – from the Star Trek Reboots through The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker he was even second unit director on the former, as well as working with George Lucas on Episode III to round off the prequels. He’s in a unique position to speak to these changing landscapes of epic filmmaking.
We spoke at length about the apparent contradictions and indulgences in making a Star Wars film, and he made the case for why nothing was wasted and all contributed to the final presentation. He was erudite and open to the discussion, making for a dream conversation with a man who quite literally has helped shape what amazes us on screen for decades.
The following has been edited for clarity and concision.
We see practical effects being championed as almost a marketing ploy with the “postquels” as a mix of nostalgia and an attempt to delineate from Lucas’ second trilogy. In some ways the love of the practically-realized snake undercuts the extraordinary CGI you and your team accomplished, and raises questions about why the need to fetishize the on-set inclusions when they’re replaced anyway. Could you talk about that ethos, that somehow doing stuff on a computer is a “cheat” while doing an effect practically is not?
I think at the end of the day we’re all trying to do the best that we can, trying to make the best, most dramatic or emotional movie we can visually. I’m coming from figuring out how do you get the most...
CJ ENM, one of Asia's leading entertainment companies and the outfit behind Bong Joon Ho's Oscar-winning sensation Parasite, is taking a significant stake in fellow South Korean company Dexter Studios.
Founded by Kim Yong-Hwa, Dexter is the producer of numerous mega-grossing Korean blockbusters including Along With The Gods: The Two Worlds, which took more than $100m in Korea, and its 2018 sequel Along With The Gods: The Last 49 Days, which grossed north of $90M in its home market. Its most recent in-house production was disaster movie Ashfall, which has grossed $60M locally.Dexter / CJ
The company is also one of the leading visual effects makers in the region, with credits including the 2013 comedy Mr. Go, for which they created a gorilla that becomes a Korean baseball star, and more recently effects work on Parasite and Burning.
CJ is buying a significant part of the company to become its second-largest shareholder; the two outfits have signed an MOU for the deal. They intend to blend their combined expertise across production, distribution and VFX to expand Dexter's reach around the world across film, TV, VR and AR.
Parasite has grossed a phenomenal $210M globally, $73M of which came in its home market Korea, where it was released by CJ.
“CJ ENM, the leader of Asia's entertainment industry, is the most suitable strategic partner for Dexter Studios for expanding its global reach across its film, television and interactive platforms. Dexter Studios has made its mark in visual effects expertise through the success of Along With The Gods franchise and Ashfall. We will become a global studio making exceptional high-end content with the close-knit partnership with CJ ENM,” said Ryu Chun-ho, CEO of Dexter Studios.