Tell me if this sounds familiar: a former special ops agent leaves his government gig and goes into business for himself, taking on cases that he believes will help those in need. So sort of a bit of Jason Bourne mixed with Jack Reacher? Sounds about right, and perhaps it’s no shocker that “The Janson Directive” comes from the pen of ‘Bourne’ writer Robert Ludlum. Universal has been sitting on “The Janson Directive” for a few years now, but it looks like they want to get it moving with a big name to bring it to life.
Variety reports that Dwayne Johnson is being eyed to lead what is already being called a “Bourne-esque franchise,” because obviously. While John Hlavin penned the first draft of the script, the project is going out to new writers, and Johnson himself is apparently keen on the whole thing. And frankly, it’s a win/win scenario for both studio and actor. The Rock is a big star who has proven he can walk into any franchise (“G.I. Joe,” “Fast & Furious“) and make it feel alive, which is good for Universal, while the actor has another big vehicle to jump onto. That said, we’d reckon the studio will wait to see what audiences think of Johnson on his own in “Hercules” in a couple of weeks before the ink dries on any contracts.
That said, this is also a savvy move on the part of Universal who have ‘Bourne 5’ brewing for 2016. With “The Bourne Legacy” being the least well-received effort to date, if the rumored return of Matt Damon doesn’t happen (producer Frank Marshall says it won’t), and ‘Bourne’ once again underwhelms, it gives the studio a similar sort of project to pivot toward.
It’ll be interesting to see how ‘Bourne 5’ affects the development of “The Janson Directive” (or not), but it seems Universal is keen on one-man killing machines.