The Oscar winning writer and director Robert Towne (Chinatown,Shampoo) has signed adeal with Carlton International Media to remake The 39 Steps, John Buchan's classic thriller that wasfirst filmed, famously, by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935.

Towne will write and direct thestory about a man who becomes embroiled in a complex murder plot in Londonwhich takes him to the highlands of Scotland.

"The 39 Steps is a seminal film that embodies a wonderfully crafted story thatwe believe can be retold in a contemporary manner," Stephen Davis, presidentand chief executive officer of Carlton America, Carlton International MediaGroup's US-based development and production arm, said in a statement.

"There is only a small handful of individuals in our business withthe talent, experience and insight to whom we would entrust a project of thismagnitude and Robert Towne is one of them."

The 39 Steps belongs to Carlton International's Film Collection library, whichcontains two other versions of the film besides Hitchcock's, namely those byRalph Thomas in 1959 and Don Sharp in 1978.

Towne iscurrently preparing his next film as a director, the drama Ask The Dust to star Colin Farrell and Salma Hayekfor DreamWorks SKG and Capitol Films.