Actress to star opposite Brosnan in UA heist drama

Rene Russo has leapt into “The Thomas Crown Affair,” starring opposite Pierce Brosnan in the United Artists remake of the 1968 heist drama that starred Steve McQueen as a wealthy thief and Faye Dunaway as the investigator who pursues him.

John McTiernan (“Die Hard,” “Hunt for Red October”) is directing.

Russo (“Get Shorty,” “Lethal Weapon 3″) will appear in Warner Bros.’ “Lethal Weapon 4,” which opens in July.

“Crown,” written by Kurt Wimmer and Leslie Dixon, is loosely based on the earlier version but will be modernized. In the new romantic thriller, Brosnan plays a millionaire playboy who tries to add some excitement to his life by stealing a valuable Cezanne painting from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He then strikes up a romance with the insurance investigator (Russo) who tracks him.

Pic is slated to start lensing in September.

Brosnan, who starred as James Bond in UA’s recent 007 pics “Goldeneye” and “Tomorrow Never Dies,” is also producing “Crown,” along with Beau St. Clair.

Russo won’t be joining Paramount’s military thriller “The General’s Daughter,” according to spokesmen, despite the actress’s recently reported talks to co-star in that film.

Russo’s other feature credits include “Ransom,” “Tin Cup” and “In the Line of Fire.” The “Crown” deal was brokered by her agents Belle Zwerdling and Bernie Carneol of Progressive Artists Agency. She’s managed by John Crosby.

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