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Thomas Crown 2 Gathers Pace

Pierce Brosnan sequel filming In January

Yesterday, we brought you the joyous news that Paul Verhoeven was back back back in Hollywood, as director on The Thomas Crown Affair 2.

Well, now we have some more details, thanks to our chums at Variety. Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin.

We’ve known for some time that Pierce Brosnan, who also produces, will be back to play Thomas Crown, the incredibly suave but bored billionaire with a gift for high-risk thievery, in the sequel.

But now it’s been confirmed that Rene Russo, who was so good opposite Brosnan in the John McTiernan original (which was actually a remake) will not reprise her role as Catherine Banning, the FBI agent who fell in love with Crown, against her better judgement. Shame, as Russo’s casting in that movie struck a blow for ageism in the movies (she was roughly 45 when she went topless in that movie).

Instead, Crown’s new love interest is an as-yet uncast character named Nadia Badri, about whom little is known. She’s exotic, obviously, but on which side of the law will she stand? And will she be played by someone a little closer to Brosnan’s age, a la Russo? (Suggestions on a postcard, please)

As you can tell from our opening sentence, the movie is no longer called The Topkapi Affair, which it had been (albeit unofficially) for so long. Does this mean that the movie is no longer a remake of Jules Dassin’s heist classic, Topkapi?

Well, Variety indicates that the movie is set entirely in Europe and the Middle East, with Crown finding himself caught up in a centuries-old feud. This would seem to indicate that the movie will still end up in Istanbul, where the ancient Topkapi Palace Museum – the setting for Topkapi – resides. So we're guessing that the remake element persists.

But perhaps MGM, which is backing the picture, thought that The Topkapi Affair didn’t carry the same brand recognition (God, we hate that phrase) as plain old simple The Thomas Crown Affair 2.

We’re pretty excited about this, to be frank – Verhoeven is great, the first film was a pleasant surprise, and Brosnan rocks. It’ll be good to see him having a big film under his post-Bond belt.

Filming starts in January.

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