Venom De-Prioritized for Matt Helm

October 12, 2009

It's no secret that writer/director Gary Ross has been attached to the Venom film for awhile, but it turns out he wasn't that attached to it. After Steven Spielberg managed to pry the Matt Helm project away from Paramount when he left with DreamWorks, he got bored of the idea (like he does with most) and left Ross his hand-me-downs.

Matt Helm is a 27-book series written by Donald Hamilton about a charming spy, not totally unlike Austin Powers. The series began in the '60s, and both Dean Martin and Tony Franciosa played Helm at one point in their careers. The Playlist tells us this about Ross's newfound interest in the project:

Venom is a ways off and will have to wait, Matt Helm, is coming first and is being scheduled to shoot in the summer of 2010 if all goes according to plan. Matt Helm was originally developed as a project for George Clooney who passed. Jon Hamm was next in line, but fell out of line and now at the top of the list and in discussions is The Hangover star Bradley Cooper who almost scored the role of Green Lantern earlier this year. No deal is done, but Cooper looks to be the man right now.

This is, of course, being compared to the Bourne films, which is funny, considering it wasn't long ago it would've been compared to Bond. But since it's going to be set in the present day, and Helm is presumably American, well, there's only one guy who's really comparable.

Which makes you wonder: is it such a great idea to embark on a new series of Matt Helm movies (the last were made with Martin) when there's a fourth Bourne film in the works? If Ross is actually able to go into production by the summer of 2010 then he'll definitely have the jump on Paul Greengrass, but even then he's got a pretty high standard set for American spy movies.

And Bradley Cooper -- is it just me, or is he a really odd choice for the role of Helm? At this point Cooper has played, pretty much exclusively, rom-com leads and comedic funny men. He seems way too...goofy and loveable to pull off a bad ass, womanizing spy.

Who knows, he might knock this one out of the park. I mean, he couldn't be any worse than Ryan Reynolds. Right?

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