Robert Ludlum's The Sigma Protocol Finds Another Screenwriter

Of the two dozen novels written by bestselling author Robert Ludlum, it’s somewhat surprising that the only ones to get hugely popular film adaptations have been those involving Jason Bourne. Universal has been hard at work trying to turn The Sigma Protocol into a movie for a decade now, and has hired yet another screenwriter to turn the material into what will hopefully be a tense and intelligent thriller. This time, they’re going with the fairly unknown Julie Bush to pen the latest draft.

It’s a less polarizing decision than, say, getting Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman to write it, though it puts quite a bit of pressure on Bush’s back. She’ll have to handle herself more like a Ludlum character, and less like Tony Gilroy, who had gotten pretty "Bourne-t" out by the time he directed Jeremy Renner in the title role. As Deadline reports, Bush’s blog and Twitter account led to Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter hiring her as a freelance writer for the series, and she has a co-writing credit on the third season episode "The Push." TV rarely gets more suspenseful than an episode of S.O.A., so it serves as a much better resume point than writing an episode of Dog With a Blog or whatever.

The Sigma Protocol follows Ben Hartman, an ordinary man and son of a Holocaust survivor who is vacationing in Switzerland when an old schoolmate of his tries to kill him, starting off a dangerous and conspiratorial chain of events. And this one’s got it all. Not only is there a twin brother who was once believed dead, there are also a Nazi Illuminati seemingly responsible for poisoning some of the richest and smartest men in the world. Published in the fall of 2001, this was the last of Ludlum’s novels entirely written by the author before his death in March of that year.

Previous to Bush, this project has had quite a few names attached to it, and was started up again last year with visual effects coordinator Jose Ruisanchez writing the script with longtime producer Irwin Winkler. (Winkler is still attached as a producer.) Before them, we’ve seen the Robocop remake’s director José Padilha and Olympus Has Fallen director Antoine Fuqua attached to direct, along with Iron Man co-writers Matt Holloway and Art Marcum. One has to wonder exactly what makes this novel so hard to put on the screen. Maybe it’s the Nazis’ fault.

We can look forward to Justin Lin’s take on the Bourne franchise in the summer of 2015. Maybe he’ll take some advice from the guys at How It Should Have Ended.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.