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12 actors who could play The Saint in ITV's new series
Digital Spy UK: By Morgan Jeffery Wednesday, Feb 25 2015, 13:40 GMT
It's been long in the works, but ITV has now confirmed that it's ordered a pilot for a revival of The Saint.
Set to go into production in 2016, this new take from writers Ed Whitmore (Arthur & George) and Chris Lunt (Prey) promises to bring Simon Templar - a roguish Robin Hood for the modern day - to a whole new audience.
But who could possibly follow in the esteemed footsteps of Sir Roger Moore (and Ian Ogilvy... and, erm, Val Kilmer) in bringing Leslie Charteris's gentleman thief to life?
Digital Spy has picked out 12 potentials.
1. James Norton
Last year, Norton delivered two spectacularly disparate performances - as reprehensible Tommy Lee Royce on BBC One's Happy Valley and as 'sexy vicar' Sidney Chambers on ITV's Grantchester. Take a little of Royce's edginess, add a dash of Chambers's charm and you might just have yourself the perfect Saint.
2. Matthew Goode
Goode quite possibly has 'suave' on his CV under 'special skills'. He's busy breaking the US right now with a recurring role on The Good Wife but if the well-spoken Imitation Game actor could be lured back to Blighty, he'd make a brilliant Templar.
3. Adrian Lester
A gentleman thief, you say? Lester has that role sewn up, with seven-odd years experience from playing charming con man Mickey Stone on the BBC's Hustle. Could he be the man for ITV's new revamp?
4. Rupert Penry-Jones
Penry-Jones has the sort of steely charisma that an actor needs to play The Saint and might be looking for his next leading man role following stints on Spooks, Whitechapel and Silk.
5. Damian Lewis
Freed from his Homeland contract, Lewis is a free agent once more and it would be a delight - not to mention a boon for ITV - to have him back on our screens fronting a new action-packed thriller series in the UK.
6. Dan Stevens
No longer just a Downton fop - Stevens proved he has action chops and can do roguish charm in acclaimed 2014 film The Guest. He'd be great for The Saint - if ITV can pin him down before he becomes a Hollywood superstar.
7. David Gyasi
The Interstellar actor was originally going to head up BBC One's own adventure series The Interceptor, before an injury forced him to drop out. Landing the lead in The Saint could be the perfect substitute - though Gyasi has just landed a part in a new US pilot from The Vampire Diaries' Julie Plec, which could keep him tied up if taken to series.
8. Oliver Jackson-Cohen
You may know Jackson-Cohen from his work on NBC and Sky Living's recent Dracula series, but check out 2010 film Faster - in which he plays a hitman, starring opposite Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson - to get a better idea of how he'd fare on The Saint. We reckon he'd be a strong pick.
9. James D'Arcy
Another actor who's been pulling spectacular double-duty of late - playing suspected killer Lee Ashworth on Broadchurch and well-mannered Edwin Jarvis on Marvel's Agent Carter. Like the other James in this list, we know D'Arcy can do charm and danger - could The Saint lure him back to ITV?
10. Dougray Scott
The first of three actors who have had a brush with The Saint in the past. Back in 2010, Scott was attached to a US adaptation of The Saint but it never surfaced, with the Scot blaming "problems with the script and the studio". Should ITV give him another shot?
11. James Purefoy
Two years earlier, Purefoy was likewise lined up to play Templar in a 2008 TV film that would serve as a pilot for a potential series. With his involvement in a third season of The Following uncertain, could he get another go-around at The Saint eight years on?
12. Adam Rayner
The third and final almost-Saint, Rayner got the closest - even shooting a pilot for a potential US series which co-starred Eliza Dushku and featured a cameo from Roger Moore. If he can get time off his FX series Tyrant, perhaps Rayner deserves a second chance?