John McTiernan’s remake of The Thomas Crown Affair (co-written by CHUD fave Kurt Wimmer) was one of summer 1999’s more pleasant surprises, the clamor for a sequel wasn’t exactly deafening. And, yet, Pierce Brosnan persisted, figuring that Eric Ambler’s novel The Light of Day (subsequently made as Topkapi by Jules Dassin), would be perfect grist for a spritely follow-up.

If Dassin’s film is any indication, he’s absolutely correct. Though terribly ephemeral, Topkapi is blithely entertaining nonsense; its team-oriented thieving antics inspired the TV series Mission: Impossible, while its central set piece – a heist of the Istanbul Museum which requires a man to be lowered into the heavily alarmed fortress from the ceiling – might remind you of a similar sequence in the film Mission: Impossible.

I’m not sure if that scene is in the book, but, even if it is, the filmmakers would be wise to re-design it; once De Palma got to it, homage quickly gave way to theft and parody. What this would require, then, is a director with enough moxie to make the film his own visually, while retaining the elements of the narrative that aren’t quite as hackneyed.

Paul Verhoeven will do nicely.

That said, the addition of Verhoeven calls to mind something a touch more erotic than McTiernan’s remake, which, despite some very attention-getting nudity (thanks, Ms. Russo!), wasn’t exactly a celebration of kink (or, I suppose, The Kinks). Currently, the screenplay for The Topkapi Affair is credited to Harley Peyton – and, unless that draft got reworked in the past month, whatever Peyton wrote is exactly what Verhoeven will shoot (I dunno, something about a strike). Peyton’s done seedy before (most notably for Twin Peaks and the underrated Heaven’s Prisoners), so it’s possible Verhoeven will be able to apply his trademark eroticism.

And this would be a good thing because, over at JoBlo, Dave Davis mentions that Angelina Jolie is in contention for the female lead. Then again, Brosnan and Jolie seem an odd match. Perhaps Cloris Leachman is available.