Pierce Brosnan is to reprise his role as master thief Thomas Crown in a sequel to 1999's The Thomas Crown Affair.

Basic Instinct director Paul Verhoeven will helm the second instalment, due to begin shooting in January, according to Variety.

And former Bond Brosnan will also produce the film, alongside Dino Conte and Beau St Clair.

However, Rene Russo will not return as the thief's love interest, with an as-yet uncast actress to play a character reportedly named Nadia Badri.

Russo had starred as Catherine Banning, an FBI agent tracking the bored billionaire thief, but won't reprise her role in Verhoeven's film, Variety states.

The trade paper says the latest instalment is set in Europe and the Middle East and features debonair thief Crown entangled in a feud stretching across the centuries.

While John McTiernan's 1999 film had been a remake of the 1968 crime caper starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway, it is thought the sequel is to mirror heist classic Topkapi, as the Topkapi Palace Museum resides in Istanbul.

Starship Troopers director Verhoeven most recently released acclaimed second world war drama Black Book.

13/11/2007 11:24:08