It's not Bond, but it's close.
Every since Regé-Jean Page’s star-making turn as Simon Basset in Bridgerton, his career has exploded. His character is not returning to Bridgerton for Season 2, but he’s not wanted for work. Instead, he’s been cast in both the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons film and the Russo brothers’ Netflix movie, The Gray Man. Now, the actor has landed his plummiest role: Regé-Jean Page will star in a remake of The Saint, playing the legendary Simon Templar.
The Saint began as a series of British novels and short stories, with Simon Templar as a suave British superhero. The earliest books, published in the late 1920s, presented him as a secret do-gooder, a Robin Hood for the 20th century, who battled everything from Prohibition gangsters to European arms dealers. Like Batman, his Saint persona masks his real identity; he leaves a calling card behind with a stick figure wearing a halo whenever he’s left criminals for the police to round up. But he’s not altruistic, either; his fortune comes from stealing from the rich robber barons and it funds an elegant upper-class lifestyle.
The series was first adapted for the big screen in the 1930s, but it didn’t hit big until the U.K.’s ITV made it into a TV series in 1962, when it premiered in the wake of the wild success of James Bond and Dr. No. With actor Roger Moore in the lead role, the series was quickly refashioned as a British spy series, a small screen Bond of the era. (That Moore went on to take over the Bond role after he finished his run on The Saint only served to cement the connection in the public mind.)
More recently, The Saint was remade in the 1990s, starring Val Kilmer in the role. The film refashioned the character as a mixture of Batman and James Bond, with a “master of disguise” angle thrown in for good measure.
With Daniel Craig poised to retire as Bond in the coming year, rumors have run rampant as to who will replace him, with everyone from Idris Elba to Gillian Anderson to Richard Madden mentioned as possibilities. Page was the latest name to start popping up on fans’ radars, but it seems that if the Bond franchise was hoping to cast the debonair and suave actor, they’ve come too late, as he’s booked and busy with a similar type of project.
The Saint remake itself has been one that’s turned over major actors as well in the last few years. According to The Hollywood Reporter, in 2019, the project was trying to get off the ground with Chris Pine attached. The new version will also bring aboard a new scriptwriter in Kwame Kwei-Armah, who co-wrote the upcoming John Boyega project 892 and the Spike Lee musical All Rise.
The Saint remake does not yet have a release date.