looking for 39 Clues, pondering a Martin Luther King Jr. biopic, and annoying people with his Oldboy remake. Now he's lined up yet another possible directing gig as Variety reports that he might just go good and undercover with Matt Helm.
Now, you can't get any classier than Matt Helm. He's the leading man of Donald Hamilton's novels, and starred in 27 books of sheer badassery. A U.S. counter-agent, Helm didn't bother too much with the spying and espionage stuff, but just put himself into the right situations to kill people. He's grim and ruthless, with no time for love, and gives Bond and Bourne a run for their money. He's ripe for cinematic reinvention too, as Helm came to the big screen as a goofy, campy, wisecracking spy played by Dean Martin.
DreamWorks has been developing a Helm film for years, but the property is owned by Paramount and was left behind when the two divorced. Currently, Spielberg is still attached to produce, but apparently he's really excited by a new script that Paul Attanasio turned in, and might just take the director's chair. However, his interest is putting Paramount in a quandry as they're confident Helm is strong enough to create a franchise all by himself, and wouldn't need the help (or salary expense) of a heavy-hitter like Spielberg.
Normally, I'd say "What the hell? You don't say no to Spielberg directing Matt Helm! He gave us Indiana Jones!" But I'm still dying for him to make that Lincoln biopic, so I rather hope Paramount says "Sorry, but no Helm for you" and forces his hand. On the other hand, if we want a Matt Helm movie that isn't just a Bourne ripoff, Spielberg would be your man, and the results would be awesome. Variety is saying that the decision will be made in a matter of days, so it doesn't matter what we think, but I don't envy the studio head who has to makethat particular verdict ...