Move over Michael Crichton, Stephen King and John Grisham – there’s no hotter author right now than espionage thriller bestseller Robert Ludlum.
The late author of “The Bourne Identity” series already has four of his books in development at various studios, a list that has grown today with the addition of a fifth.
Universal Pictures is eyeing Ludlum’s 1982 Cold War novel “The Parsifal Mosaic” as its next project with Imagine Entertainment onboard as a potential producer reports the trades.
The project marks the first one announced since Captivate Entertainment, who owns screen rights to Ludlum’s works, made a first look deal with Universal late last year.
‘Mosaic’ focuses on US Intelligence agent Michael Havelock who believes he’s just witnessed the execution of his partner and lover Jenna Karas off the Spanish coast for being a KGB double agent.
Retiring from the service, he soon sees her alive at a train station before she quickly flees. As he sets out to track her down, his superiors believe he’s become too much of a liability and order his termination.
Meanwhile the much loved US Secretary of State, who has become the real driving power in the US administration, has gone insane. Before that, he secretly negotiated a ‘first strike’ treaty with both Russians and Chinese representatives who turned out to be employed by a mysterious figure named ‘Parsifal’ who threatens to leak the documents.
A flashback to a Nazi attack during World War II serves as a linchpin of the story which moves from Italy to Greece and the former Czechoslovakia. Ludlum’s work often focused on the rise of Neo-Nazi’s in the post-WW2 era but ‘Mosaic’ is an entirely Cold War-centric work.
The various other Ludlum books in the works are all planning contemporary spins on the material and notable departures from the source, no word if this one will keep the original setting. The “Bourne” film series similarly bore little relation to Ludlum’s original work aside from the first hour of ‘Identity’ which stuck relatively close to the material.
Other Ludlum film adaptations in the works include “The Sigma Protocol” at Universal, “The Matarese Circle” at MGM, “The Chancellor Manuscript” at Paramount and “The Osterman Weekend” at Summit Entertainment.
Universal is also planning a fourth “Bourne” movie which producer Frank Marshall at one time said was considering using the storyline of ‘The Parsifal Mosaic’ for its plotline.