Purefoy Not Going Forward as The Saint

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Purefoy Not Going Forward as The Saint

From Double O Section:
Tradecraft: Purefoy's Saint Series Dead?

Here's some truly disappointing news to start off the week. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Barry Levinson-directed revival of The Saint, which was set to star the perfectly-cast James Purefoy as Simon Templar, "didn't go forward." Apparently Purefoy is instead opting to star in a different show with a very similar premise, The Philanthropist. (It really could have been an ITC title in the late Sixties; I'm surprised they didn't think of it!) Says the trade, "Philanthropist centers on a renegade billionaire (Purefoy) who uses his wealth, connections and power to help people in need no matter the risks or costs." That's pretty much what Simon Templar does, the only real difference being that his wealth is ill-gained. The Reporter ends its report on The Philanthropist with this brief statement on The Saint: "Earlier this year, CAA-repped Purefoy was attached to The Saint, an independently produced two-hour backdoor pilot with Levinson on board to direct, but the project didn't go forward."

"Didn't go forward?" So what does that mean? Is the project dead? Will it still go forward in the future, but with another star? All LeslieCharteris.com (the premier site for Saintly information) can add at this point is that shooting on the pilot has been delayed until "at least August" because of a possible actors' strike. (Such a strike seems very unlikely at this point.)

Muddying the waters further is how incestuous this whole Saint/Purefoy/Philanthropist triangle really is. The original producers on The Philanthropist were Levinson and Tom Fontana, both of whom were also on The Saint! They've now been replaced, however, by Battlestar Gallactica and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys producer David Eick. So were Levinson and Fontana really developing such similar projects simultaneously? Or did The Saint somehow morph into The Philanthropist? That seems an unlikely scenario, given that the trade states The Philanthropist got a 13-episode order from NBC nearly a year ago. More likely, the shows aren't really as similar as they sound in loglines.

Whatever the tangled web behind the scenes, this story saddens me. As I was just saying earlier this month, I was really looking forward to this newest incarnation of The Saint--and primarily because of Purefoy's involvement. I hope that the matter is not yet said and done, and that we still might somehow see a James Purefoy Saint series sooner or later.

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12 comments for Purefoy Not Going Forward as The Saint


Blogger hudson hawk said...

Well....I am truly disappointed.....A long walk in a dry desert finds no water in the oasis. One can only hope for a revival....dim as they now may be. Damn.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008  
Blogger Big Time Saint Fan said...

This is very disappointing news. Hopefully the project will be revived with another actor taking over as the Saint. I'd like to suggest Alexander Siddig, from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as a possible replacement for Purefoy if they decide to go ahead with the new Saint movie/series.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008  
Blogger saint mark said...

This news leaves me with two conflicting emotions, one of relief since I did not fancy this version of the Saint and the other is one of regret, a longer delay from the Saint returning to our screens.

Thursday, July 24, 2008  
Blogger Big Time Saint Fan said...

Although I believe Alexander Siddig would be very good in the role of Simon Templar I also feel Adrian Paul, from the Highlander TV series, could do very well in the part. I think Siddig's Templar would be younger and more "worldly." Paul's Templar, on the other hand, would be a little older/more mature and probably a little more British (in my opinion). There are many Adrian Paul fans who strongly supported him as a possible "James Bond" before Daniel Craig was got the part. Hopefully these fans would also support him in the part of Simon Templar which could help bring a bigger initial fan base to the new Saint movie/series. Either way, I don't feel the producers could go wrong by casting Siddig or Paul as a replacement for Purefoy. Hopefully this series will "re-tool" a bit and still go forward. Although I was at one time hopeful of a Saint movie series similar to the James Bond series, I am now really looking forward to seeing "The Saint" on my TV screen again. If the producers update "The Saint" but are otherwise basically faithful to the original Leslie Charteris novels there will be a strong, "built-in" audience for the new movie/series which should make it successful.

Thursday, July 24, 2008  
Blogger Big Time Saint Fan said...

What about a Canadian playing the part of Simon Templar? David James Elliott, from the TV series JAG, might be good as "The Saint." He seems to have the right combination of seriousness and humor. The only thing missing is that he doesn't have a "British accent." Could fans live without this or could they accept an actor doing the accent as part of the role? I guess my point is that there are several actors who could fill the role of Simon Templar so it would be too bad to see this production die due to the loss of the lead actor. Hopefully there will be some good news soon about this new version of "The Saint."

Friday, July 25, 2008  
Blogger Big Time Saint Fan said...

OK, here's a possible replacement for Purefoy that would probably get a lot of attention: Jason Connery. Hopefully the producers will announce something soon. It's too bad that at this point it looks like the newest version of "The Saint" is dead.

Sunday, July 27, 2008  
Blogger P1800 said...

Yes, this is most disappointing. But not all is lost. Maybe this is the opportunity for the Saint to go back to his roots.I accept that possibly most will disagree--no problem, but The Saint, Patricia, Teal et al should always remain British. Thats where it all started!.Too many great British characters (and I am not a Pom by the way) have been hijacked over the years. My daughter thinks that Peter Pan,Winnie the Pooh, The time machine, War of the worlds Etc.. among others are all American. Nothing wrong really I guess, except none of them are. At least let's keep Simon and all the crew where they belong.

Monday, July 28, 2008  
Blogger Bill Powell said...

Whoever plays Simon Templar I hope that the producers go back to the original european setting and the 30's era. I was never at ease with the comtemporary adventures and certainly not with val Kilmer. Producers please not the success of the "Indy" and Mummmy films!

Thursday, August 14, 2008  
Blogger Roland Hulme said...

How disappointing! I was REALLY looking forward to that.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008  
Blogger hudson hawk said...

Barry Levinson is at the Republican Convention this week as he was at the democratic last week. He is doing this as a member of the Creative Coalition. He seems well occupied with a variety of projects.....in his interview on MSNBC this morning no mention of THE SAINT when he talked of his projects.

Thursday, September 04, 2008  
Blogger Dwight Williams said...

Siddig as the Saint?

It's unusual...but in a world where we've got Paterson Joseph and Chiwetel Ejiofor being seriously debated as decent candidates for the 11th Doctor for Doctor Who - and they both seem quite capable of the job...well, given the implied history of Simon's worldwide travels even before the events of "Meet the Tiger", Mr. Siddig would be far from the worst possible choice to be made.

Might be worth inquiring if he'd be interested.

Thursday, December 18, 2008  
Blogger Big Time Saint Fan said...

While I love reading that someone may agree with my suggestion that Alexander Siddig might make a good Simon Templar, I think I may have finally thought of one actor who might be ideal and acceptable to most fans: Jonathan Rhys Meyers. He has been in a number of movies including "Bend It Like Beckham" and "Mission: Impossible III." He's definitely young enough for the part and while he's not British he is Irish (this seems to take care of all the objections to the previous actors I've suggested). I seem to recall that a number of people have suggested that Pierce Brosnan would have made a good Simon Templar in his younger years. Brosnan is also Irish. I think Irish actors can play a British character quite successfully. I'd be interested in reading what other people think. Hopefully we'll see "The Saint" back on the small screen or the big screen sometime in the near future.

Thursday, December 25, 2008  

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