Dwayne Johnson to Produce John Cena, After Cena Replaces Him in Franchise-Starter

Dwayne Johnson was originally in talks to star in The Janson Directive, based on the book by Bourne Identity author Robert Ludlum, way back in 2014.

Just a few months after that, the wrestler-turned-entertainment superstar took to social media with confirmation that the project was moving ahead with a screenplay by Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, I Am Legend). And then all went quiet.

Flashforward four years, and it now appears that The Janson Directive is back on, although without Johnson in the starring role. Johnson has taken to Instagram to announce that the project is a go with John Cena in the lead.

“Dude, I’m so excited to go on this journey with you, I think you’re going to do awesome,” Johnson told his former Wrestlemania colleague. “And as your producer, if you screw up, I’m coming to set – BANG, people’s elbow.”

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Variety reports that Johnson’s schedule is simply too crammed for this one, allowing Universal to provide Cena with a potential franchise after his well received turns in the studio’s recent comedies Train Wreck, Sisters, and Blockers.

The Janson Directive tells of ex-Navy SEAL and former government agent Paul Janson, who’s become a private corporate security consultant. After a mission rescuing an important man goes awry, Janson finds himself the target of a termination order, which leaves him with no option but to unearth the truth behind these events.

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James Vanderbilt (Zodiac, Truth, The Amazing Spider-Man) will be writing the screenplay, adapting Ludlum’s book from a story co-crafted by Goldsman.

Vanderbilt will also be producing the picture alongside Hiram Garcia of Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions, Captive Entertainment’s Ben Smith and Jeffrey Weiner, Goldsman from  Weed Road Pictures, and William Sherak of Mythology. Johnson will be on board as executive producer, as will Mythology’s Tracey Nyberg.

Cena will next be seen in Paramount’s upcoming Tranformers spinoff Bumblebee, starring Hailee Steinfeld. That one’s set to hit Australian cinemas on December 20 and US cinemas on December 21.