Oct 16, 2008
Tradecraft: Paramount Developing New Matt Helm Movie
In a sidebar to the print version of an article about Paramount streamlining its slate to produce only twenty films in 2009 (bad economy, sign of the times, etc.), The Hollywood Reporter lists how Paramount and former partner DreamWorks will divide custody of properties formerly in development as part of the partnership. They say, "Paramount will develop another group of films that DreamWorks will have the option to co-finance and co-distribute, such as Matt Helm and Imaginary Friends." That's it. That's all the info. But it's interesting, because this is the first we've heard in a while of this project being alive at all!
DreamWorks optioned Donald Hamilton's series of Helm novels way back in 2001, aiming to develop a film closer to the books than the Dean Martin spoofs of the Sixties or the Anthony Franciosa TV series of the Seventies. At that time, Legally Blonde director Rober Luketic was attached to the project. He was still involved as late as early 2004, when he touted his Win A Date With Tad Hamilton star Josh Duhamel as a possible Helm. By the following year, however, that version of the project was dead, and Variety reported that DreamWorks had hired Michael Brandt and Derek Haas (the same guys who are now adapting Robert Ludlum's The Matarese Circle for MGM) to write a new Helm film "in a high six-figure deal." That was the last I'd heard anything about the project until today, so I'd assumed it was dead. I'm glad to hear that it's not, and to see that Paramount cares about the potential franchise enough to wrest it away from DreamWorks in the split! Hopefully that means it will actually become one of those twenty films they're planning to make...