The works of Robert Ludlum, when turned into movies, have grossed $945 million for Universal. And that’s just the three Bourne movies. The studio is adding to the Bourne legacy in 2012 with The Bourne Legacy, but Ludlum authored a couple dozen potentially profitable stories before his death in 2001. Universal is ready to try another flavor of Ludlum, The Janson Directive. The story centers on Paul Janson, a former government agent who takes on the job of rescuing a billionaire philanthropist. The mission goes awry, and Janson finds himself marked for death on the wrong end of a “beyond salvage” order from the highest level of government. Sounds a bit like Burn Notice to me, but with more of a cat-and-mouse element since Janson is being pursued by “a young agent of astonishing ability who can anticipate and counter his every move.” Actually, given the man-against-government premise and the familiar cadence of that title, this sounds like Bourne Notice. Not a complaining: depending on casting, that’s a solid hook for a thriller.
John Hlavin (The Shield) will adapt the screenplay. Ben Smith and Jeffrey Weiner are producing through Captivate. Read the synopsis for The Janson Directive after the jump.