Feb 15, 2012

Tradecraft: New Universal Spy Franchise Born Out of Ludlum Collaboration

When Ludlum Entertainment changed its name to Captivate Entertainment, the intention was always to open up their production slate beyond just movies based on the novels of Robert Ludlum, but still in the same general tone and action-packed genre. At least one such project made it as far as a director attachment a few years ago, but has yet to materialize. Today, Deadline reports that another is moving forward. According to the trade blog, Universal has shelled out "high six figures" (against seven should the project come to fruition) for an untitled spy thriller pitch from writer Josh Zetumer, with Captivate's Jeffrey Weiner and Ben Smith attached to produce. The studio hopes the pitch can lead to a lucrative new spy franchise. Zetumer's collaboration with Smith and Weiner began in 2009 when the scribe was hired to pen one of two possible scripts for a fourth Matt Damon Bourne movie. (Series veteran George Nolfi was working on the other one.) Of course, when first Paul Greengrass and then Matt Damon exited the film, neither sequel script was produced, and instead the studio went a different direction, commissioning the "spin-off" movie The Bourne Legacy from Tony Gilroy (the teaser trailer for which was released last week). But Zetumer evidently impressed Captivate, leading to this new collaboration. In addition to writing a Bourne script and doing uncredited rewrites on Quantum of Solace, Zetumer also has an original spy script, The Infiltrator, set up at Warner Bros. with Leonardo DiCaprio attached.

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