Frank Marshall to Direct ‘Covert One’?

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Robert Ludlum didn’t entirely write the Covert One series of books; before his death, he co-wrote some and merely ‘oversaw’ or produced others. But his name’s on there anyway, which makes them just that bit easier to sell to audiences who wouldn’t mind seeing another Bourne film.

So get ready for a Covert One movie, which will potentially feature “a top-secret team of political and technical experts who fight corruption and conspiracy at the highest and most dangerous levels of society.”

Pajiba has a source saying that not only is Covert One in development by Captivate Entertainment (which has all of Ludlum’s material) but that Congo and Alive director Frank Marshall is set up to direct. (Marshall is also a prolific producer including, lately, The Last Airbender.)  We’ve got no cast info right now. The idea is to create a new franchise, but when is that not the idea lately?

Here’s a summary of The Hades Factor, the first book in the series. Sounds like this could tread on ground similar to Soderbergh’s upcoming film, Contagion. This wouldn’t be the first adaptation of this novel; there was a TV movie in 2006 with Mira Sorvino and Stephen Dorff.

After three disparate Americans succumb to a hitherto unknown Ebola-like virus, the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) is pressed into service. Since the USAMRIID’s top doc (and former military intelligence operative) Lt. Col. Jon Smith has yet to return from an overseas conference, the job of heading the medical research team falls to Smith’s colleague and fiancée, Dr. Sophia Russell. Upon Smith’s return, he is sequentially treated to a life-or-death warning from a childhood friend (and rogue FBI agent), several nasty near-death experiences, and the viscerally graphic demise of his wife-to-be, an apparent virus victim. Enraged and bereaved, Smith flies into investigatory action only to discover doctored files, expunged records, and the distinct likelihood that he’s dealing with cases of murder-by-virus. As more questions are asked, more deaths occur, official channels slam shut, and Smith finds himself a wanted man, battling his best friend, an evil-genius gazillionaire scientist, corrupt politicians, and Third World terrorists. In other words, it’s Smith versus all the usual suspects.

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