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THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR

About The Production
"I supposed it all just happened over coffee one morning," explains Pierce Brosnan

"I supposed it all just happened over coffee one morning," explains Pierce Brosnan. "My producing partner, Beau St. Clair, and I were talking about remakes and The Thomas Crown Affair came up. It's a film that I loved and she loved. We had a look at it and thought, 'hmm, good idea. Let's see if the studio buys it.' They said 'yes' and two years later we were in production."

Brosnan and St. Clair thought The Thomas Crown Affair would be the ideal project with which to follow up their Irish DreamTime Productions debut, The Nephew. "When I watched the original The Thomas Crown Affair, I thought 'This character is Pierce; he could play this,'" recalls St. Clair. "We both thought it would be a wonderful challenge to incorporate the themes and conflicts of the old movie into something contemporary and original."

Alan R. Trustman conceived the original film through his work as a banker -- the ideal job for envisioning the ultimate heist. To re-imagine the film, United Artists' Executive Vice President of Production Jeff Kleeman enlisted two writers who had never written together before -- Leslie Dixon and Kurt Wimmer -- to participate in a one-time-only collaboration, a highly unusual move in Hollywood.

"I was excited about the project but didn't want to write the heist scenes," Leslie Dixon remembers. "So, I asked the studio, 'why not get an action writer to work on that part of the film?' Amazingly, the studio said yes and we wrote it together."

Adds Kurt Wimmer: "I originally came on to write a number of heists but Leslie ultimately proved extremely generous in allowing me to participate in all aspects of writing and realizing the screenplay. It turned out to be a collaboration in the truest sense of the word."

Once they had a solid script, Brosnan sent it to McTiernan with whom he had worked when they were both new to the film business (the 1986 thriller Nomads). McTiernan read it and committed to it overnight.

"I liked the love story, the 'Taming of the Shrew' aspect of it," says McTiernan. "It's about how porcupines mate. You have two people who are, in their own way, brutally successful. But that same cold independence that works for them professionally, makes them failures at having a relationship. These two could only get together in the middle of very dangerous circumstances."

The next step in the process was to cast a female lead confident enough to call Crown's bluff and in whom the audience might find a star appeal on par with that of Brosnan's. "What Crown sees in Catherine is a way out of his life," notes Brosnan. "When he falls in love with her, he sees his mirror image. He sees a woman who is formidable, who has brought herself up in life. When Rene Russo's name came up, I thought, 'Yeah. This is a woman who has had relationships in movies with every big leading man on the map.' No trouble believing Crown's attraction to her. She's beautiful, capable, witty. She's perfect."

Although Russo has played a broad spectrum of professional roles from doctor to detective to B-movie queen, her portrayal of Catherine is perhaps the first opportunity this former top fashion model has had to be glamorous on screen. "I really haven't played this kind of role before," relates Russo. "I'm used to playing down the glamour in my movie roles. I'll play a cop with a headband or a doctor with my hair tied back and very little makeup on.

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