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.
Here’s two more new series in development that will be vying for a slot on next year’s TV schedule. First up, THR has word on a new western series that just sold to Fox. The untitled project is said to explore the origins of Wyatt Earp, focusing on the well-known events in his life like the infamous gunfight at the OK Corral and details about his brothers bringing order to a lawless frontier. The Shield writer John Hlavin is behind the script while Fringe producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci will executive produce. With these names attached, it’s makes it much more likely that this will be a big project at next year’s upfronts presentation. Of course, with AMC’s track record, this new project will likely have to work hard to top the forthcoming western series Hell on Wheels.
Details on a new TBS sitcom with comedian Steve Byrne after the jump.
If you’ve been waiting with bated breath for a film version of Hasbro’s never-ending board game Risk, well today’s your day. Columbia Pictures has tapped John Hlavin (Underworld: New Dawn) to pen the screenplay for the adaptation of the strategy game. Risky Business reports that the film version will be an action thriller set in modern day. I’m not entirely sure how a film can be resemble the game, unless you cut-away from battle scenes set on Earth to giants in space moving pieces around and yelling at each other over accusations of cheating. That’s a movie I would see. Hlavin wrote a couple of episodes of FX’s The Shield and also penned the Western revenge thriller The Gunslinger which James Mangold is directing.
James Mangold (Knight and Day) is attached to direct The Gunslinger, a revenge thriller described as a contemporary Western. According to Heat Vision, the spec script from John Hlavin (The Shield) centers on “an ex-Texas Ranger who sets out to punish the men who killed his brother.” Andrew Lazar (Jonah Hex) will produce along with Cathy Konrad, Mangold’s wife and producing partner. New Regency is hoping to start shooting in the spring.
I’m excited to see who they cast for this one — a manly lead role if there ever were one. Mangold’s 3:10 to Yuma stars Russell Crowe and Christian Bale seem like good candidates. Shia LaBeouf would be great, obviously, but I say that about every movie.
Underworld 4 has found its director(s). Heat Vision reports that the Swedish team-up of Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein will take on directorial duties for the film. Underworld 4 will mark the second English-language feature for the pair who also co-directed the 2009 UK thriller Shelter starring Julianne Moore and Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Showtime’s The Tudors). Marlind and Stein will helm the project for Screen Gems and Lakeshore Entertainment from a script by John Hlavin. Multi-platform scribe J. Michael Straczynski (Changeling & one of my personal favorite comics, Rising Stars) performed rewrite duties for the film.
With the news of Marlind and Stein’s hiring in the bag, the fourth installment of the Underworld franchise continues to take shape. Almost two months ago, we confirmed that Kate Beckinsale would return to her rightful place as the unequivocally bad-ass vampire warrior, Selene. At that time we also reported that the film would begin production in Vancouver during March 2011, with a January 20th, 2012 release in mind.
We have a few important updates regarding the next installment in the Underworld franchise. All that we’ve known so far about the upcoming fourth film in the series is that John Hlavin (The Shield) was writing the film, that it would be released on January 20, 2012, and that Kate Beckinsale wasn’t sure if she would return to reprise her role in the series.
Now, we’ve just gotten a press release that confirms that Beckinsale will indeed be returning to the franchise that made her an action star. The press release also tells us that screenwriter J. Michael Straczynsk (The Changeling) has come on board to do some revisions to Hlavin’s script and they’re looking to cast someone as Beckinsale’s daughter. There is still no director attached to the project but Len Wiseman, who directed the first two Underworld films, will be producing the film. Hit the jump for what we were sent:
John Hlavin’s action thriller film pitch has been picked up by DreamWorks. Though the plot is being kept secret, Hlavin’s pitch has been described as an “international heist film”; THR reports that no producers are attached to the project yet. John Hlavin is best known as a story editor and writer for The Shield, and also worked on Daybreak. Hlavin’s upcoming projects include Underworld 4, Summit’s adaptation of the comic Alibi, and the Sam Raimi-produced Panic for director Fede Alvarez.
We’re getting another Underworld movie and there’s no way around it. I dropped out after the first movie, but it did teach me a valuable lesson: Kate Beckinsale in black leather spandex wielding two guns does not a good movie make. Also (and I fail to understand this in New Moon as well), why are werewolves and vampires fighting? I know that there’s some back story explaining it but what makes these two groups inherently in conflict as opposed to any other monster?
Maybe John Hlavin, a writer on The Shield, which is one of my all-time favorite shows, can explain it to me, or at least bring me back to the series. Thankfully, Hlavin says he aims to do just that (while not alienating the precious fans who must be appeased lest the world suffer their wrath). Hit the jump for details and wonder if you can include a note on every page saying “Please do not shoot this with a blue filter.”