EXCLUSIVE: After re-starting one Robert Ludlum novel franchise with The Bourne Legacy, Universal Pictures is looking to get in gear with The Sigma Protocol, the last thriller Ludlum wrote before he passed away. The studio has set Irwin Winkler and Jose Ruisanchez to write the script. Winkler will produce with Captivate Entertainment’s Jeffrey Weiner and Ben Smith.
The novel focuses on a man who, while vacationing in Switzerland, runs into an old friend. He watches as the guy turns homicidal and guns down six people. The vacationer then gets plunged into a conspiracy and runs for his life. A female federal agent is following the clues, and might be the ordinary guy’s only hope of survival from a ruthless assassin.
“What we are really hoping to do is create a franchise, built around this ordinary guy who gets caught up in international intrigue, and who teams with this operative who is declared a rogue by the CIA,” said Winkler. “Unlike Bourne, who is a trained assassin, this is an innocent guy traveling in Europe who gets in way over his head. And it has all the great Ludlum intrigue.”
Universal has been trying to make a movie out of Sigma Protocol since 2002. At one time, the studio had Antoine Fuqua attached, and later, Iron Man scribes Art Marcum and Matt Holloway took cracks at the novel. Winkler and his partner have gone back to the book. They got the job after writing a …