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Universal and Dwayne Johnson are working on a Robert Ludlum Cinematic Universe


dwayne johnson

Many of you will know the works of Robert Ludlum. He is the author behind the Bourne books, and Matt Damon is returning to the role in Jason Bourne.

Now Universal Pictures, James Vanderbilt and his partners at Mythology Entertainment, Brad Fischer and William Sherak, as well as Ben Smith and Jeffrey Weiner of Captivate Entertainment are working on turning more of Ludlum’s books into films and have them part of the same shared cinematic universe.

First up will be an adaptation of Ludlum’s The Janson Directive by Vanderbilt, which will star Dwayne Johnson. The Parsifal Mosaic, The Sigma Protocol and Covert One are other books expected to be adapted at some point.

Here is the synopsis of The Janson Directive:

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…

“The Janson Directive is classic Robert Ludlum,” Johnson told THR. “Sharp, edgy and layered storylines. The character is complex, conflicted, bad ass and lethal — I can’t wait to sink my teeth into this and bring him to life. Between Jamie, Akiva, Captivate and Universal, it’s an exciting time to help produce and build out this awesome Ludlum universe.”

The new deal seeks to give cohesion to the individual titles, bringing them under one umbrella and giving them crossover points. On top of writing Janson, Vanderbilt, who worked with Johnson when he co-wrote the actor’s early action movie, 2003’s The Rundown, will co-author two more stories/treatments based on the Ludlum books, which have not been named, giving shape to the action universe. The treatments will then be adapted into screenplays by scribes yet to be hired.

It is unclear how Johnson’s character will figure into the future installments.

“I’ve been obsessed with Robert Ludlum ever since I was a kid, and the opportunity to play in this sandbox and create an interconnected universe based on the works of one of the best espionage writers of all time is a dream come true,” said Vanderbilt.

This will be Universal’s second cinematic universe after the Universal Monsters one.


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