We're starting to wonder if Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson sleeps, sees his family, or even takes a vacation. With a docket that already has a Jumanji remake, a standing role in the Fast and Furious franchise, as well as the lead villain role in Shazam, the man already has a pretty full dance card. So, obviously, now's the time for Johnson to play the cornerstone to another cinematic universe, and this one has Robert Ludlum's work at the heart of it.
The news broke this evening, with The Hollywood Reporter breaking the news around the same time that Universal sent out the pertinent facts in a press release. Johnson has signed on for the film adaptation of Robert Ludlum's The Janson Directive, which will not only see Johnson starring as the titular Paul Janson, but will also see the action star involved as an executive producer in the new Robert Ludlum shared cinematic universe. The following synopsis for Janson's first adventure was provided among the details:
A former clandestine operative, now the best private security consultant in the world, is framed for a horrendous crime and must join forces with the protégée sent to kill him in order to survive.
Unfortunately, The Janson Directive is the only film that's implicitly stated as involving Dwayne Johnson's participation, though the two other stories that are supposed to be co-written and adapted by Truth writer/director James Vanderbilt will also be based on Robert Ludlum novels, which will be tied into the universe that Paul Janson's adventures will kick off. If Johnson is looking to jump back into the game as quickly as he entered, at least one, if not both, of those stories could be based off of the four sequels to the initial novel. Though considering the term "shared universe" was mentioned, it would be assumed that fresh novels would be adapted to follow The Janson Directive, making up a sort of "Phase 1" of the Robert Ludlum Shared Universe. That is, if this universe doesn't already plan on intersecting with another, pre-fabricated universe.
Considering Jason Bourne brings Matt Damon's famed super-spy back to the table, there's an odd chance that The Janson Directive could not only set up further Robert Ludlum novels for adaptation, it could also set the table for Bourne to join in on the fun. While we wouldn't put all of our stock in the already rich Bourne universe crossing into the path of Paul Jenson and whatever other Ludlum characters come to call, the possibility is too tempting not to bring up. With Universal ready to cash in on the fourth Damon film in the series, and with Dwayne Johnson looking to help bring a new shared universe into the world, all that's missing is Jeremy Renner to make it into a real party.
The Janson Directive has no production date or release date in mind just yet, but you can see Jason Bourne in theaters on July 29th. Do you have any favorite Robert Ludlum novels you'd love to see adapted into the Ludlum Cinematic Universe? Share your input with us in the Comments below.