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.
This is now one of a few non-Bourne Ludlum novels that are in development. Universal and Captivate are also collaborating on The Sigma Protocol. Universal has Ron Howard attached to direct The Parsifal Mosaic. And Captivate is working with Summit and director Robert Schwentke (Red) on The Osterman Weekend. As all these Ludlum thrillers are thrown against the theater wall over the next few years, we’ll see if anything sticks the way Bourne did.
Here’s the synopsis for The Janson Directive:
He was hired to be a hero. Now his mission is to save himself…
When billionaire philanthropist Peter Novak is kidnapped by a terrorist known as The Caliph, it’s up to Paul Janson—a legend in the notorious U.S. covert agency Consular Operations—to save him. But Janson’s rescue operation goes horribly wrong…and soon Janson is marked for death, the target of a “beyond salvage” order issued from the highest level of the government. Now Janson is running for his life, pursued by Jessica Kincaid, a young agent of astonishing ability who can anticipate and counter his every move. To survive, Janson must outrace a conspiracy that has gone beyond the control of its originators. To win, he must counter it with a conspiracy of his own… [Amazon]