Universal Fast-Tracking Robert Ludlum's Parsifal Mosaic
by Alex Billington
February 13, 2009
Robert Ludlum is easily one of Hollywood's favorite authors. Universal has a first-look deal with Captivate Entertainment, the company that holds the rights to the Ludlum library, where it is exclusively given the opportunity to adapt any of Ludlum's 25 remaining unadapted novels. The Matarese Circle, which is headed into production this year, was sold before the deal with Universal is made, and because that became a high profile project when Tom Cruise stepped on board, Universal is getting a bit anxious. So they've decided to line up their own new Ludlum project, an adaptation of "The Parsifal Mosaic."
"The Parsifal Mosaic", first published in 1982, is another espionage thriller about US intelligence agent Michael Havelock. At the beginning of the novel he believes he has just witnessed the execution of his partner and the love of his life, Jenna Karas, who had been marked for execution because she had been proved to be a KGB double agent. He retires, but sees her alive at a train station and attempts to find her and unravel a conspiracy. Soon, the agents become involved in an effort to track down Parsifal, a shadowy figure behind a blackmail scheme. Action in the book jumps between countries such as Italy, Greece and Czechoslovakia. The novel is regarded as perhaps the most Cold War-centric of Ludlum's work.
Universal is expected to put the film on a fast track. No writer or director or even producers have been named yet, which means this is all just a big Hollywood shoving match between Universal and MGM, who is developing The Matarese Circle. I wish I could read all of Ludlum's novels, because they sound fascinating and probably are better stories on paper than on screen. Not to say that "The Parsifal Mosaic" doesn't have a chance of being as good as the Bourne movies, I just suspect the story is much more elaborate in the novel. I'll be curious to see who is hired to write and direct, because that will make all the difference.