In the world of modern cinema, author Robert Ludlum is easily best known for writing the source material that would be adapted to become the Bourne franchise. Consisting of 27 novels, some of which have previously been brought to the big screen, Ludlum's body of work is a potential goldmine for Hollywood, and Universal Pictures is looking to cash in - and in a big way. The studio is now in talks with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to star in an adaptation of Ludlum's novel The Janson Directive.
This news comes to us from Variety, which notes that negotiations are still in the early stages. Based on Ludlum's posthumous novel that was first published in 2002 (the year after the author's death), the story follows an ex-Navy SEAL named Paul Janson who also used to belong to a clandestine U.S. government agency known as Consular Operations. While he has chosen to live a quiet life as a corporate security consultant, things begin to change when he is asked by a mysterious woman to help rescue a Nobel Peace Laureate who has been kidnapped by terrorists. Of course, things don't exactly go smoothly in this operation.
Johnson is reportedly very interested in the role of Paul Janson, and sees it as a new potential franchise opportunity. If it comes to pass, then it will just be added to the ever-increasing number of other running series that the A-lister leads. Let's not forget that he still has Fast & Furious, G.I.Joe, and Journey To... movies on his upcoming schedule, and is also rumored to be a part of the building DC Cinematic Universe as well. The star also has Hercules coming out later this summer, and Paramount is hoping that ends up with some franchise chances as well. So where the hell is Johnson going to find the time?
Beyond the aforementioned projects, Johnson has also been working on the upcoming earthquake thriller San Andreas, the lost at sea drama Not Without Hope, and the supernatural action movie SEAL Team 666.
Yet another Jason Bourne movie, known now as Bourne 5 starring Jeremy Renner, isn't scheduled to come out until 2016, but it and The Janson Directive aren't the only two Ludlum adaptations currently in the works. Other titles currently i development include The Sigma Protocol (which, last we heard, was being developed by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci), and The Parsifal Mosaic (which director Zhang Yimou is attached to).
Provided a contract can be agreed upon, Johnson will also serve as a producer on The Janson Directive. Universal is currently looking for writers to pen the film's screenplay, so obviously the project is still very much in its earliest stages. Do you like the idea of The Rock signing on to this film? Would you like to see him add it to his personal collection of franchises? Let us know in the comments below.