MGM ‘Affair’ rekindled

Lion, Brosnan team for 'Crown' sequel

Pierce Brosnan may no longer be James Bond, but he has definitely become Hollywood’s hot heist guy.

Thesp, who next appears in New Line jewel theft pic “After the Sunset,” will keep on capering in MGM’s sequel to “The Thomas Crown Affair.”

New film, “The Topkapi Affair,” will draw on material from 1964’s “Topkapi,” an MGM pic that has fascinated filmmakers before. Miramax topper Harvey Weinstein has often talked of remaking the film, about the theft of a jeweled dagger from an Istanbul museum.

The new film, to be written by Harley Peyton, will not follow that movie’s storyline exactly but draw on elements from the pic. Brosnan will return in the character of Thomas Crown, which he played in MGM’s 1999 remake of the 1968 Steve McQueen pic.

Brosnan will produce with his Irish DreamTime producing partner Beau St. Clair. Dino Conte will also produce.

Toby Jaffe is overseeing for MGM.

A sequel to “Thomas Crown” has been discussed at MGM ever since the 1999 remake bowed. At one point Leslie Dixon was in talks to write the follow-up.

“The studio asked for a sequel early on, but we didn’t feel it was an obvious sequel,” said St. Clair. “We weren’t excited about where it could go. We resisted and resisted, because we really didn’t want to go out and do it unless it was surprising and different.”

When MGM vice chairman Chris McGurk came up with the idea to base the film on “Topkapi,” however, things changed.

St. Clair said she was excited by the idea of drawing not only on “Topkapi” but also on Eric Ambler novel “The Light of the Day,” upon which “Topkapi” is based.

As for Brosnan’s character, St. Clair says Crown has a “post-Sept. 11” sensibility. “New York during ‘The Crown Affair’ was thriving,” she said. “Now his values, all the things he does, have been affected (by Sept. 11). We want to take the character further, crack him open, put him in an international backdrop.”

The producers were drawn to Peyton because of his work on MGM’s “Bandits,” starring Bruce Willis and Cate Blanchett, which he wrote and exec produced. Scribe is also working on “Henry’s List of Wrongs” for New Line and director Mark Waters.

Brosnan currently stars in “Sunset,” directed by Brett Ratner. He recently wrapped “The Matador” with Hope Davis and Philip Baker Hall.

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