Joe Utichi contributed to this report from London

EXCLUSIVE: Exactly fifty years after the premiere of the British spy series The Saint, a remake is picking up steam with a pilot directed by Simon West. British actor Adam Rayner has been cast in the title role made famous by Roger Moore in the original series. The remake, produced by Brad Krevoy, is not set at a network yet. Written/executive produced by Jesse Alexander (Heroes), it is slated to begin shooting a pilot later this month. In the project, debonair international thief Simon Templar (Rayner), a modern day Robin Hood, steals from rich criminals and keeps the loot for himself. A master of disguise, improvisation, martial arts, firearms and espionage and the quintessential English gentleman, he is hired by certain government agencies for special assignments. The completed pilot is expected to be shopped to networks.

Rayner was last seen co-starring opposite Melissa George on the first season of the Cinemax/BBC spy drama Hunted, created by Frank Spotniz. He is repped by ICA Talent, IALA, Jamie Feldman in the US and Maxine Hoffman and Lara Beach in the UK. This is not the first stab at remaking The Saint on the small sceen. Four years ago, Moore was attached to produce a TV movie/backdoor pilot. Producers Barry Levinson, Tom Fontana, Bill MacDonald and writer Jorge Zamacona were behind the project, which had James Purefoy attached as the lead but ultimately didn’t get off the ground. Val Kilmer played Templar in the 1997 feature remake.