Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Ellen Page And Kate Mara Are 'Tiny Detectives' In Hilarious 'True Detective' Parody Watch: Ellen Page And Kate Mara Are 'Tiny Detectives' In Hilarious 'True Detective' Parody 10 Female Directors Who Deserve More Attention From Hollywood 10 Female Directors Who Deserve More Attention From Hollywood Miles Teller Says Role In 'Divergent' Made Him Feel "Dead Inside," And He Took Movie "For Business Reasons" Miles Teller Says Role In 'Divergent' Made Him Feel "Dead Inside," And He Took Movie "For Business Reasons" First Look At 'The Dying Of The Light,' Paul Schrader Quits Film Over What Nicolas Winding Refn Calls "Artistic Disrespect" First Look At 'The Dying Of The Light,' Paul Schrader Quits Film Over What Nicolas Winding Refn Calls "Artistic Disrespect" New Images From 'Interstellar' Arrive, Christopher Nolan Says The Film Is A "Mirror" Of 'Inception' New Images From 'Interstellar' Arrive, Christopher Nolan Says The Film Is A "Mirror" Of 'Inception' Watch: New Trailer For ‘Kingsman: Secret Service’ Starring Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson & Taron Egerton Star Watch: New Trailer For ‘Kingsman: Secret Service’ Starring Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson & Taron Egerton Star Chilly New Banner For Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Explores A Cold New World Chilly New Banner For Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Explores A Cold New World 15 Films That Failed To Hit The 2014 Fall Festival Circuit 15 Films That Failed To Hit The 2014 Fall Festival Circuit Watch: Steven Soderbergh Re-Scores And Changes Steven Spielberg's 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark' To Black-And-White Watch: Steven Soderbergh Re-Scores And Changes Steven Spielberg's 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark' To Black-And-White Watch: Have A Threesome With Very NSFW Clip From 'Maps To The Stars' With Julianne Moore & John Cusack Watch: Have A Threesome With Very NSFW Clip From 'Maps To The Stars' With Julianne Moore & John Cusack First, Mostly Rave Reviews Arrive For David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' First, Mostly Rave Reviews Arrive For David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' Watch: New Hilarious Red-Band Trailer For 'The Interview' Starring Seth Rogen And James Franco Watch: New Hilarious Red-Band Trailer For 'The Interview' Starring Seth Rogen And James Franco Fantastic Fest Review: Hitman Thriller 'John Wick' Starring Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe & Adrianne Palicki Fantastic Fest Review: Hitman Thriller 'John Wick' Starring Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe & Adrianne Palicki 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes

Universal Wants More Robert Ludlum, Hire John Hlavin To Pen 'The Janson Directive'

The Playlist By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist October 28, 2011 at 2:25AM

Every few years, a hot new screenwriter comes along who makes studio execs forget that they hate hot new screenwriters. A Charlie Kaufman-type phenom will sometimes arise from such excitement, but more often than not, the love affairs ends with a “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” greenlight and subsequent parting of the ways.
0


Every few years, a hot new screenwriter comes along who makes studio execs forget that they hate hot new screenwriters. A Charlie Kaufman-type phenom will sometimes arise from such excitement, but more often than not, the love affairs ends with a “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” greenlight and subsequent parting of the ways.

Screenwriter John Hlavin has been slowly building towards his Zach Helm moment, writing the next “Underworld” sequel, a Black List-approved crime drama called “The Gunslinger,” and an adaptation of the board game “Risk” (which is being developed by Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment). Now, Universal is entrusting Hlavin to adapt “The Janson Directive,” the final novel by Robert Ludlum, writer of the 'Bourne' series.

'Janson' has similarities to 'Bourne': both involve a government solider who is betrayed by his commander and later ends up becoming a “wanted man.” 'Janson' has some interesting elements that might entice big name directors and actors, too. The main character is haunted by memories of the Vietnam War, during which his mentor and commanding officer turned him over to the enemy to be tortured for his own sadistic means. Did someone say “MAU?” We smell a perfect Michael Cimino comeback vehicle with this one.

Universal must be counting on Hlavin to turn in a killer script here. They don’t have a property like 'Harry Potter' or 'Twilight' to fall back on, unless you count those 'Riddick' movies. Their one big franchise—aside from the 'Fast and Furious' films (Vin Diesel has truly been a gift and a curse for the studio)—is the 'Bourne' series. Tony Gilroy’s “The Bourne Legacy” stars Jeremy Renner as a character who is not named Jason Bourne. It opens next summer and deals with the series’ history while leaving open the possibility for a future Matt Damon/Paul Greengrass sequel (though, we’re not holding our breath). Universal is no doubt hoping to spin 'Janson' into its own successful action series, a move that would buy the studio some breathing room and at least a few sequels worth of profits. If 'Legacy' and 'Janson' are both hits, perhaps a Ludlum “Avengers” could be made, with Brian Cox taking on the Clark Gregg role.

Cimino jokes aside (but, we’re actually not kidding), it will be interesting to see whom Universal hires to direct the picture. They gave Greengrass his first shot at a studio movie with “The Bourne Supremacy,” and were repaid that favor with a $100 million bath on “Green Zone” and the director’s noncommittal attitude towards a fourth 'Bourne' movie. Studios should start dealing with summer tentpole directors the way they do “Saw” and “Paranormal Activity” filmmakers: bring in some guy, and if he gives you any grief, grab another kid from film school. Lionsgate went so far as to give “Saw VI” director Kevin Greutert the indentured servant treatment, enforcing their “Saw 3D” option only after trades reported he would be making “Paranormal Activity 2.” The studio seemed to be doing it just for the fun of it. One executive who has shown admiringly little love for tentpole and awards directors alike is Columbia’s Amy Pascal, who fired Steven Soderbergh and Sam Raimi like they were a couple of craft service cronies.

We’re interested to see what Hlavin will do with the script and whether or not he can make it unique enough to avoid too many 'Bourne' comparisons. If audiences show up for it, though, the only comparisons the studio will care about involve box office numbers. Actually, that’s all they’ll care about either way. [Deadline/24 Frames] -- By Ryan Sartor

This article is related to: Films, Film Studios, Universal


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates