EXCLUSIVE: After getting the spinoff film The Bourne Legacy into production with Tony Gilroy directing his script and Jeremy Renner starring, Universal Pictures, Captivate Entertainment and Ludlum Entertainment are moving forward with another feature adaptation of a Robert Ludlum thriller novel. The studio has hired John Hlavin to script The Janson Directive, one of the last novels Ludlum wrote before he died in 2001. Ben Smith and Jeffrey Weiner are producing through Captivate, which has a first look Universal deal. The production company just signed with UTA.
Published a year after Ludlum’s death, The Janson Directive focuses on Paul Janson, an ex-Navy SEAL and former member of the covert government agency Consular Operations. In the book, he is haunted by memories of the Vietnam War and his mentor and commanding officer, whose sadistic side prompted him to turn Janson over to the enemy to be tortured. Janson escaped and provided the evidence of war crimes that caused his CO’s execution. Years later, Janson is a corporate security consultant who takes a job rescuing an important man, but when the job goes awry, Janson is targeted for a “beyond salvage” termination order. He has no choice but to follow the clues that lead him to a massive scandal.
Hlavin scripted Risk, which Sony Pictures is developing with Overbrook Entertainment and Hasbro. The scribe has also written for such shows as The Shield. He’s repped by UTA.
Weiner and Smith’s Captivate Entertainment made a first look deal with Universal to continue the Bourne franchise and see through other Ludlum works as well as hatch original projects that follow a similar thriller track. They are also far along with Universal on The Parsifal Mosaic, a Ludlum bestseller that has a script by David Self, and Ron Howard directing. Universal is also developing Ludlum’s The Sigma Protocol. Captivate is working with Summit Entertainment on an adaptation of Ludlum’s The Osterman Weekend, with a script by Simon Kinberg and Jesse Wigutow. The company’s activity should increase after Captivate Entertainment focused on its beachhead Bourne franchise. After a fourth installment of The Bourne Identity languished, Gilroy figured out the spinoff film that also stars Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton. The Bourne Legacy will be released August, 2012.
On setting Hlavin to script The Janson Directive, Captivate’s Smith said, “John has developed a fantastic take on how to bring the story of Paul Janson to life with his sharp interpretation of the character.”