Directors Spielberg, Ron Howard eye next projects

Stevenspielberg_290 Two of Hollywood's biggest directors are getting into the spy game.

Steven Spielberg may add the director's chair to his production credit on James Bond contemporary "Matt Helm," and Ron Howard has accepted the mission for Robert Ludlum's "The Parsifal Mosaic," according to Variety.

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"Helm" began its life with Spielberg's Dreamworks, but the studio lost it during the split with Paramount. Despite the tension there, Spielberg has reportedly signed on to produce. Talk of his moving to the director's chair began with the latest draft of the script.

Matt Helm is a fictional counter-spy created in 1960 by author David Hamilton. The character was similar to James Bond in plotlines and darker themes, often evoking comparisons to pulp-fiction noir detectives. While that may have been able to compete against the increasingly comical film incarnations of Bond, it'll be interesting to see how Helm fares against Daniel Craig's two-fisted 007. The character has already received film (played by Dean Martin) and television treatments.

Howard, meanwhile, has agreed to helm "The Parsifal Mosaic" for Universal.

Ludlum's works are hot right now, between the "Bourne" movies and the proposed Tom Cruise-Denzel Washington adaptation of "The Matarese Circle." "Mosaic," in keeping with the author's spy themes, follows a CIA agent trying to learn the fate of his possibly KGB lover.

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