Paul Verhoeven has signed on to direct The Thomas Crown Affair 2 for MGM.

The development broke when the film-maker mentioned the project on the Dutch radio show Met Het Oog Op Morgen.

Also known as The Topkapi Affair, the story is based on Eric Ambler's novel The Light Of Day about a billionaire art thief who attempts to steal a priceless diamond from Istanbul.

Pierce Brosnan has long been in line to reprise the role of Crown after he starred opposite Rene Russo in the 1999 remake. Norman Jewison's original caper came out in 1968 with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway as the leads.

MGM did not return calls to confirm casting or a start date. Verhoeven's other upcoming projects include the long gestating adaptation Azazel, based on Boris Akunin's bestselling crime mystery about a nineteenth century Moscow detective.

Manager Marion Rosenberg represents Verhoeven.