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'Homicide' Team Resurrects 'The Saint'

A new version of the 1960s series "The Saint" could be on its way to a network near you, thanks in part to "Homicide" and "Oz" producers Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson.

British actor James Purefoy ("Rome") is in talks to star in the show as Simon Templar, a wealthy, worldly man who's also an expert thief and uses his skills to help the downtrodden. Levinson is set to direct a two-hour movie/back-door pilot that would relaunch the series, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

There's one catch, though: The pilot has no network home yet. It does, however, have financial backing courtesy of Nehst Studios, which says it's prepared to shoulder the cost of the pilot and go into production on a series should a network pick it up.

"The Saint" was part of TNT's development slate a year ago, but the cable channel decided not to go ahead with it. Producer Bill MacDonald (who also produced the 1997 "Saint" film starring Val Kilmer) and writer Jorge Zamacona ("Homicide," "Third Watch") reclaimed the rights and during the writers' strike decided to produce a pilot independently before shopping it to networks.

Zamacona also brought Fontana and Levinson to the show. The trio, along with MacDonald and Geoffrey Moore -- the son of Roger Moore, who starred in the '60s version of the show -- will serve as executive producers.

Purefoy, who played Mark Antony on HBO's "Rome," has also appeared in "Vanity Fair" and "A Knight's Tale." Casting is underway for other key roles, and production is scheduled to begin in April.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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