Growing up, I went to the library to read all the Stephen King, Clive Barker, and splatterpunk I could get my hands on. But in our family's living room, there was a library of "dad books", which was mostly comprised of Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, a few of the Bonds, and a whole bunch of writing on basketball (context: my dad was a coach). When it came to the Ludlum novels, there was this running joke in our house about how we could never remember the titles, due to how goofy/interchangeable they all were. Here's a sample conversation:
Jacob's Dad: "Son, did you read The Philistine Compendium yet?"
Jacob: "Dad...we both know that's not a real book. I'm still stuck on The Chrysanthemum Briefcase."
Often times, the jokes were better than the books themselves (which ran on forever and kept introducing more characters than I could keep track of). But I kept reading them, because I was a nerd.
Anyway, this is all a bunch of set up for the joke that The Rock is producing an adaptation of Ludlum' posthumously published yet still funnily titled 2002 pulp thriller The Janson Directive, with John Cena set to star. Here's a quick synopsis of the novel which, if you've ever read Ludlum, comes off like parody:
When billionaire 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…
The announcement came via The Rock's Instagram, where he interrupted his latest selfie to say he's all about that spy game:
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
For those of us who are huge fans of Cena (count this writer as one), this is some fun news. Here's hoping they can parlay the book into another Bourne-esque hit, as I'd sign up to see the charming, muscled wrestler-turned-funnyman anchor his own spy series (as there are already multiple books in the Paul Janson arc, penned by authors who still draw breath). We'll keep you posted as more becomes available.