John Cena is in talks to star in The Janson Directive, a Universal Pictures adaptation of Robert Ludlum‘s action-thriller novel. Cena would play the role of Paul Janson, a former Consular Operations agent works as a private security consultant after leaving his former post due to a guilty conscience over sanctioned killings. Now, Janson uses his skills–and his team-up with a sharpshooter–only to help those in need.
Variety reports that Cena will step into the role that previously had Dwayne Johnson attached to star. Due to scheduling conflicts, the role will go to Cena, but Johnson and Dany Garcia remain on board as executive producers through their Seven Bucks Productions banner. The duo obviously have a shared history in the squared circle of professional wrestling, but they also share massively muscular frames, a dedicated work ethic, and a rising (or risen, in the case of Johnson) stardom in Hollywood. Cena recently appeared in comedies like Blockers, Sisters, and Trainwreck, dramas like The Wall and a bunch of voice-acting roles like the lead in Ferdinand and upcoming titles Dallas & Robo, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Voyage of Dr. Doolittle. The Janson Directive, however, poses a franchise opportunity for the wrestling superstar.
Ben Smith and Jeffrey Weiner of Captivate Entertainment produce along with Hiram Garcia of Seven Bucks Productions, James Vanderbilt, Brad Fischer, and William Sherak of Mythology, and Akiva Goldsman of Weed Road Pictures. Tracey Nyberg will executive produce through Mythology. Vanderbilt is scripting the adaptation from a story co-authored with Goldsman.
Here’s a look at The Janson Directive synopsis, courtesy of Ludlum’s book (via Amazon):
When billionaire [Editor’s Note: Playboy?] philanthropist Peter Novak is kidnapped by a terrorist known as The Caliph, it’s up to Paul Janson―a legend in the notorious U.S. covert agency Consular Operations―to save him. But Janson’s rescue operation goes horribly wrong…and soon Janson is marked for death, the target of a “beyond salvage” order issued from the highest level of the government. Now Janson is running for his life, pursued by Jessica Kincaid, a young agent of astonishing ability who can anticipate and counter his every move. To survive, Janson must outrace a conspiracy that has gone beyond the control of its originators. To win, he must counter it with a conspiracy of his own…
Here’s what The Rock had to say:
Found my star! Congrats to my good bud John Cena on landing the lead role for our movie, THE JANSON DIRECTIVE. A project that myself, @sevenbucksprod, our production partners and Universal Studios have been developing for years now. Congrats man and I’m excited to go on this journey with you. Thank you for your commitment to the role and remember, as your producer if you screw up, I’m coming to set and droppin’ the People’s Elbow on ya. And you know first hand how devastating my elbow drops can be 😉💪🏾 Congrats my friend and let’s go make a good one. #JansonDirective #JohnCena #SevenBucksProds #CaptivateEnt #WeedRoadPics #MythologyEnt #UNIVERSAL