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Universal Fast-track Ludlum Adaptation

Michael Havelock the new Bourne?

We'll soon be needing a dedicated Robert Ludlum news channel. Hot on the heels of the announcement that Tom Cruise in is negotiations to star in David Cronenberg's The Matarese Circle (Cruise! Cronenberg! OMG!), comes news that Universal are picking up screen rights to another Ludlum thriller, The Parsifal Mosaic.

The Parsifal Mosaic continues Ludlum's line in troubled Cold Warriors. It follows Michael Havelock, a Czech emigree-turned-US intelligence agent who believes he's witnessed his girlfriend's assassination, only to later glimpse her in a Rome train station. Havelock is tipped into a shady world of double-crossing and geopolitics, with 'Parsifal' the shady figure behind a nuclear blackmail scheme.

As with Bourne, we'd expect Universal to make some changes, and possibly update the Cold War setting. (The title may need a look too, sounding like something you'd come across on the Antiques Roadshow.)

Ludlum, who died in 2001, has posthumously become something of a box-office behemoth. With the Bourne trilogy racking up grosses of more than $1billion and the new Bond indebted more to Ludlum than Ian Fleming, his books have reinvigorated the action thriller genre. There are 25 more Ludlum books available to be optioned, so brace yourself for a new wave of gritty antiheroes...