Universal isn’t content with developing a cinematic universe based on their classic monsters characters, they have begun work on a second series of interconnected films, this time based on the novels of Robert Ludlum.
The Hollywood Reporter is stating that the initiative is being overseen by screenwriter James Vanderbilt (White House Down) and will start with an adaptation of Lumley’s thriller The Janson Directive. Dwayne Johnson has already been set to star in the adaptation. Vanderbilt will write the screenplay off of a story outline from Akiva Goldsman.
Universal and production shingle Captivate Entertainment have been working on developing a number of Ludlum’s novels into features including The Parsifal Mosaic, The Sigma Protocol and Covert One. This could be the rising tide that lifts all of these boats. Vanderbilt is set to write treatments for two more films from Ludlum’s books which will contain the connections between the stories. The final screenplay for these two films will then be written by yet-to-be hired screenwriters.
It should be interesting to see how Vanderbilt manages to interconnect Ludlum’s various works. While the writer did have a couple of individual series, not all of his novels took place in the same literary world. The lead character Of The Janson Directive, security consultant Paul Janson, appeared in three more novels written after Ludlum’s 2001 death while the novels about the secret government agency known as Covert One were all written by other writers after the author’s death based on notes he presumably left behind. Although no concrete plans have been revealed, one way to do this would be to have the individual films launch their own franchises but have certain characters crossover between them.
Although Universal’s Jason Bourne franchise starring Matt Damon is also based off of a series of Ludlum novels, it looks as if it will not be part of this new effort.