Universal Finds The Janson Directive

John Hlavin adapting the Ludlum book

Universal Finds The Janson Directive

by James White |
Published on

Even though he’s seen numerous adaptations of his work, we’re betting Robert Ludlum would be amazed at the sheer number of books still making their way through the studio development process. And you can add another of his tomes to the list: The Janson Directive**, one of the last novels he wrote before he passed on in 2001, is now getting the script treatment at Universal.

The studio is no stranger to Ludlum’s work, having found success with the Bourne trilogy and currently preparing Tony Gilroy’s spin-off The Bourne Legacy.

But Janson is a different prospect altogether. It's based around the character of Paul Janson, an ex-Navy SEAL and former member of covert ops agency Consular Operations. He’s haunted by memories of the Vietnam War (we’re betting that bit will get an update) and a sadistic commanding officer who let him get captured and tortured. Janson escaped and testified against the man, which led to the officer’s execution. These days, he’s a corporate security consultant who is tasked with rescuing an important figure, but the job goes south and soon Janson is targeted for termination. Lots of prime Ludlum hallmarks there, then.

Universal and production company Captivate Entertainment are working with Ludlum Entertainment to get the screenplay written, hiring former Shield producer John Hlavin to crank it out. He’s been behind an adaptation of board game Risk at Sony and has been working on an untitled TV drama project about the early years of Wyatt Earp. He’s also responsible for crafting the screenplay on Underworld Awakening, which is due out on January 20.

As for Ludlum, there are loads of his books waiting to find cinema time including The Chancellor Manuscript, The Matarese Circle, The Sigma Protocol and The Parsifal Mosaic. Can it be long before The Ludlum Shopping List and The Author's Adolescent Love Poetry join them?

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