Dwayne Johnson in Pain and Gain

These days, if you’re making an action movie, it’s a simple process. Step one: try and get Dwayne Johnson. Step two: everything else.

Universal has just about accomplished that first step for the upcoming adaptation of Robert Ludlum‘s The Janson Directive. Johnson is in talks to star in and produce the film, which is based on a book by the late  Bourne series author. This, too, is a potential franchise starter, about a legendary covert agent who starts a private agency and finds himself being hunted by his own people. There’s no writer or director yet, but if Johnson is attached, that should change quickly. Read more about The Janson Directive movie here.

Variety broke the news of Johnson’s likely attachment to the project. Here’s the review of the 2008 book from Amazon, which gives a more detailed plot description:

Even after death, Robert Ludlum remains the master of the international spy caper, and whether this posthumously published new thriller was cobbled together by a real ghost or already completed before Ludlum died doesn’t matter. All the trademarked Ludlum gifts of plotting, pacing, and suspense are on full display in this engrossing mystery about a former covert operative turned private security executive who’s stranded, abandoned, and marked for murder by his old colleagues when he manages to survive an unsurvivable mission. Rescuing renowned philanthropist and statesman-without-portfolio Peter Novak from the clutches of the terrorist who murdered his wife and unborn child, Paul Janson watches, unbelieving, as the plane carrying Novak back to freedom explodes before his eyes. Soon after the first post-mission attempt on his life, Janson begins to put the pieces of the puzzle together, but Ludlum keeps the reader from seeing it whole until the last thrilling chapter. A page-turner that doesn’t let up, this one will leave Ludlum’s fans hoping there are more unpublished manuscripts where this one came from, a not unlikely possibility.

Johnson is currently filming a new action film, San Andreas, and has Hercules out in a few weeks. He’s also got Fast and Furious 7 early next year, G.I. Joe 3 in the works and more. If he’s really “franchise viagra” like he says, The Janson Directive could be a great new project for him.

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