Brosnan takes the Crown but still has his spy on 007
WHETHER or not Pierce Brosnan does another James Bond movie, he is definitely returning as Thomas Crown.
The Navan-born star will appear as the playboy millionaire thief for the second time in 'The Topkapi Affair', which is in the early stages of pre-production.
Like 1999's 'Thomas Crown Affair', the new movie will be a remake of 'Topkapi', the 1964 Peter Ustinov/Melina Mercouri caper story about the theft of a jewelled dagger from an Istanbul museum.
A spokesman for the film has been quoted as saying that it will contain elements of 'Topkapi' as well as 'The Light Of Day', the Eric Ambler novel on which it was based.
It is being written for the screen by Harley Peyton - he has specialised in adapting crime books by Elmore Leonard and James Lee Burke.
Brosnan, who will also produce 'The Topkapi Affair', is the only cast member announced so far. The actor has been at the centre of more speculation about the James Bond movies this week.
Brosnan, who has done four Bonds beginning with 'Goldeneye' in 1995, appeared to end his association with the part last year when he fell out with the producers over his fee.
He said in a television interview that they had asked him to return but changed their minds half way through the negotiations.
MGM and the EON productions then announced that the next 007 film would be entitled 'Casino Royale' and that they were searching for a younger actor to play the British superspy.
Virtually every high-profile male movie performer under 40 has been connected with the part in the media, from Erica Bana and Dougray Scott to Clive Owen and Ewan McGregor.
This week the British newspapers focussed on Daniel Craig, the boyish star of 'Layer Cake' and 'Sylvia', claiming he was favourite for the role.
But Brosnan has also come back into the picture. MGM, which produces and distributes the Bond movies, has been taken over by Sony and, according to the trade paper Variety, the bigger studio doesn't want to take any chances with the world's longest running movie franchise.
Variety reported that Sony wants the 51-year-old star to do two more Bonds and has agreed to his price. The trade paper said Sony was not in a gambling mood - they could lose more with an unknown actor. 'Casino Royale', the only one of the Ian Fleming novels not to have been filmed as part of the sequence of movies, will be directed by Martin Campbell who worked with Brosnan on 'Goldeneye'. John Cleese as Q, and Judi Dench as M, are the only actors to be cast for the movie so far.