Posted April 4, 2008 -- Another thrilling Robert Ludlum series is being pitched to movie execs, and Denzel Washington could star as its hero, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Execs are hoping for the same success as the "Bourne" franchise with "The Matarese Circle," which revolves around two secret agents -- an American and a Russian -- who must work together to fight a mysterious group of killers known as the Matarese. The twist: The agents, Bradley Scofield and Vasili Taleniekov, have been nemeses for years, with each responsible for killing someone close to the other. According to those familiar with the pitch, Washington would play Scofield.
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Michael Brandt and Derek Haas, the scribes behind Lionsgate's "3:10 to Yuma" and upcoming Universal tentpole "Wanted," are attached as writers. Nearly all the major studios have heard at least a version of the pitch, with several thought to be keenly interested; however, no deal had been struck.
After decades during which the late Ludlum's novels failed to gain big screen traction, the thriller novelist is now hot in Hollywood. Universal's "Bourne" series, based on his globehopping Cold War novels and with Matt Damon as the title character, has earned more than $900 million worldwide.
"Matarese" could be attractive to studios seeking a new franchise. The property is the only other Ludlum invention to feature more than one novel; a second book, "The Matarese Countdown," was published in 1997. Universal, meanwhile, has announced a fourth "Bourne" movie reteaming Damon and director Paul Greengrass, though Ludlum wrote only three novels. Two recent Bourne books were written by Eric Van Lustbader and published after Ludlum's death, with a third Van Lustbader title is expected in the summer.
Poet Turns 80
Maya Angelou is turning 80, and Oprah Winfrey is pulling out all the stops this weekend at Mar-a-Lago, where she's hosting a huge three-day party for the poet/author, reports the NY Post. Besides Oprah and Steadman Graham, and Donald and Melania Trump, guests are flying into Palm Beach from around the world, including Natalie Cole, Bryant Gumbel, Quincy Jones, Norman Lear, Tyler Perry, Cicely Tyson, Steve Wynn and Andrew Young.