Development on conspiracy thriller moves forward.

Universal Pictures has been developing an adaptation of Robert Ludlum’s ‘The Sigma Protocol,’ for some time now – 2002 to be exact. The project has seen many directors come and go, helmers like Jonathan Jakubowicz (‘Secuestro express’), Antoine Fuqua (‘Brooklyn’s Finest,’ ‘Training Day’) and most recently Jose Padilha (‘Elite Squad’). Many screenwriters have tried tackling the novel, most recenty ‘Iron Man’ co-writers Art Marcum and Matt Holloway.

Now according to Deadline, the project has finally landed some new writers. The men tasked with the job of adapting the thriller, producer/director Irwin Winkler and screenwriter Jose Ruisanchez.

‘The Sigma Protocol,’ Ludlum’s last thriller before he passed away, focuses on Ben Hartman, an investment banker who, while vacationing in Switzerland, runs into an old acquaintance. He watches as the guy turns homicidal and guns down six people. Hartman then gets plunged into a conspiracy and runs for his life. A female federal agent is following the clues, and might be Hartman’s only hope of survival from a ruthless assassin.

“What we are really hoping to do is create a franchise, built around this ordinary guy who gets caught up in international intrigue, and who teams with this operative who is declared a rogue by the CIA,” said Winkler. “Unlike Bourne, who is a trained assassin, this is an innocent guy traveling in Europe who gets in way over his head. And it has all the great Ludlum intrigue.”