Protothriller writer Robert Ludlum died in 2001. Eight years on, he’s never been more popular as news of possibly four more of his blockbusters head for the big screen.

According to 411mania, this is likely due in part to the fact that Captivate Entertainment, who control the screen rights to Ludlum’s novels, made a deal with Universal last year:

Run by Jeffrey Weiner and Ben Smith, Captivate’s new deal gave Universal exclusive rights to continue the “Bourne Identity” series, and gave the studio first look at all Ludlum titles, 25 of which haven’t yet been optioned for the screen.

Universal is working on a fourth “Bourne” film for Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass based on an original idea, and Universal and Strike Entertainment are prepping an adaptation of Ludlum’s “The Sigma Protocol.”

The early talks for “The Parsifal Mosaic” come in the wake of Tom Cruise entering negotiations to star with Denzel Washington for director David Cronenberg in the Ludlum thriller “The Matarese Circle” at MGM. The “Matarese” deal was made before Captivate landed at Universal.

The Guardian confirms the scuttlebutt around Matarese:

Tom Cruise and Denzel Washington look set to play rival spies forced to team up in David Cronenberg’s forthcoming adaptation of the Robert Ludlum thriller The Matarese Circle, Variety reports.

Cruise is in talks to play one of the spooks, while Oscar-winner Washington is understood to have already signed on to play the other. Ludlum’s 1979 novel is set during the cold war era and centres on rival US and Russian spies who have been vieing for supremacy for several decades. The screenplay for the new film, by Wanted’s Michael Brandt and Derek Haas, will bring the story up to date, but will still focus on the elite group of the title, an organisation that has infiltrated every layer of society.

More book-to-film news in that same 411mania piece: Clive Barker talks about the possibility of releasing the movie version of Tortured Souls from development hell (“I think it’ll happen. I think it’ll happen probably only when I’ve got back into the swing of directing. There’s a script I like very much.”)

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