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'The Saint' full of history -- in both story and setting

April 7, 1997
Web posted at: 5:30 a.m. EST

From Correspondent Sherri Sylvester

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- From nostalgia to reunions, the newest incarnation of "The Saint" had different meanings for all those involved.

For lead actress Elisabeth Shue, who plays Emma Russell, a young scientist whose life is in terrible danger, the film was about returning to a place she loved -- Russia.

"It was really, really fascinating to be back there and see how things had changed and interact with people in a way that I hadn't before because I was actually working with them," she says.

For lead actor Val Kilmer, who plays Simon Templar, the rich, sophisticated and highly skilled thief, the experience bordered on the surreal.

"Just being in such a place, such a part of history in such a setting was bizarre," he says.

What made it even more bizarre was a scene in which 2,000 extras lined Red Square as tanks rolled up to the Kremlin.

It was an amusing shoot for Croatian-born Rade Serbedzija, who rebelled against communism in real life, then found himself as the villain of "The Saint."

"My father told me I was a bloody bastard for not believing in communism," he says. "But now I get to be on Red Square and be near the very dead Lenin and Stalin with all my American friends."

While the cast and crew drew on their location for inspiration, "The Saint's" filmmakers looked into the rich history of the film itself, a story that goes way back, even by Hollywood standards.

George Sanders starred in a series of movies called "The Saint in London" around 1939, a decade after the original novel was first published.

Roger Moore re-created the character for a TV series in the 1960s. He was the first to see the new movie, and according to producer Mace Neufeld, immediately wished he could have been a part of it.

"I told him there's a little thing at the end he could voice-over. He came in twice to do it and some people will recognize him as Roger and some won't," Neufeld said.

Now it's left to Kilmer, who hopes to carry "The Saint" into the next century.


Related story:

Related sites:

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  • The Saint (Official movie site)
  • The Saint (A WWW Reference to the Immortal Works of Leslie Charteris and his Saint Saga)
  • Movieweb - The Saint

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