Ludlum's last novel adapted for film
Robert Ludlum's last novel, The Sigma Protocol, is getting adapted for film that is attempting to make a franchise out of the lead character. One of the big differences with this character though is that he's not a spy or leading a double life, in Hitchcock style he's a normal man who is pulled into events he can hardly fathom.
A franchise here would be interesting because there's so much room for the character to develop. If he's caught up in a world of secret agents and assassins as a normal, everyday bloke, then he's going to have to learn and adapt to survive very quickly, an evolution that would be tangible on screen.
It's something that isn't always there with thrillers where we see the lead character is already a spy, and in the case of Bourne his evolution was to go back to being a normal person, which wasn't really achieved, nor was it a huge step for the character or the audience.
With this change, there's a certain grounding and connection with the character early on, rather than being a fantastical spy story. This story could have the potential to hit a franchise.
I'm talking of The Sigma Protocol, a book that sees a normal man having a holiday in Switzerland and meeting one of his old friends there, however his friend suddenly turns into a homicidal maniac and guns down six people, and it's here that the normal man is pulled into a conspiracy that threatens to overwhelm his own life and kill him. So he goes on the run from an assassin who is trying to do just that and a federal agent trying to piece together the truth.
It does sound like Robert Ludlum and Hitchcock all rolled into one, a perfect concept for an action thriller for modern audiences, what do you think?
"What we are really hoping to do is create a franchise, built around this ordinary guy who gets caught up in international intrigue, and who teams with this operative who is declared a rogue by the CIA...Unlike Bourne, who is a trained assassin, this is an innocent guy traveling in Europe who gets in way over his head. And it has all the great Ludlum intrigue."
Irwin Winkler is a great producer and has a huge list of films to his credit, but writing wise he's a lot lighter on the ground writing his directorial debut Guilty by Suspicion and Home of the Brave which he co-wrote the story for and directed.
The Sigma Protocol is a great thriller to adapt, but will they be able to turn it into a viable franchise without trying to fit the Bourne model?