When we covered the possibility of Steven Spielberg directing "Matt Helm" a few months back, I thought it had real potential. As I said back then, I grew up in a Matt Helm household. My dad introduced me to these books, whether he meant to or not, by virtue of the stacks of them all over the house. This series, The Destroyer, Fleming's Bond, McDonald's McGee... those are the classics I was raised on. I'm not sure Spielberg's sensibility would have totally meshed with the Helm series, but if he could make something with the savage integrity of "Munich," he might have nailed it completely. Especially with George Clooney or Jon Hamm in the lead, both very real possibilities that were discussed.
Now The Playlist has broken the news that Gary Ross plans to pick up where Spielberg left off, and that "Matt Helm" could end up in front of the cameras as early as spring of 2010. And who's going to be working overtime in the role to help us all forget the horror of Dean Martin's portrayal of this dangerous man?
Could it be... Bradley Cooper?!
I'm almost hesitant to mention the possibility now. Although I was absolutely on the money when I published our scoop about Cooper being one of the finalists in the bake-off to find the Green Lantern this year, people who don't understand the process or how close you are to a role when you screen test have taken great delight in e-mailing me repeatedly to tell me "U WERE WRONG, DUDE!" about a zillion times since Ryan Reynolds ended up with that role.
Personally, I'm glad to see Cooper's star on the rise, though. Last year, I remember having conversations with international financiers on a film I'm involved in, and when we were making lists of potential leads, I brought up Cooper and was told, "No one knows who that is. Shut up." I've had faith in him since that first season of "Alias," and it looks like he's finally getting the roles he deserves, or at least ending up on the right lists. I'd say it's nigh impossible to overstate the importance of "The Hangover" to all involved.
Bet those Euro money dudes wish they'd listened to me now.
As it stands, Ross would make "Matt Helm" before he turned his attention to the "Venom" film he is also attached to. I still don't have any burning desire to see Venom starring in his own film, nor do I look forward to a year of bitching beforehand from fanboys and a lifetime of bitching afterwards, no matter what the movie is. And with a script by Paul Attanasio already in hand, I'm guessing Ross is feeling pretty confident about "Matt Helm." The modern-day spy movie is woefully underrepresented, with Bourne and Bond serving as pretty much the only games in town, so if Dreamworks can get "Helm" off the ground successfully, it'll be nice to have another franchise with such strong source material to draw from in active production.
None of this is official yet, but ThePlaylist seems very confident in their source, so fingers crossed, and let's see how this plays out.
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