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10th Anniversary: 5 Things You Might Not Know About 'The Bourne Identity'

by The Playlist Staff
June 14, 2012 2:01 PM
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5. The film's actually a remake. Sort of.
The film was greeted as a breath of fresh air when it was released, but few recalled that there'd already been a version of "The Bourne Identity" on screen, albeit the small one -- a 185 minute TV movie that ran on ABC across two nights in 1988. Starring Richard Chamberlain ("The Towering Inferno" "King Solomon's Mines") as Bourne, Jaclyn Smith ("Charlie's Angels") as Marie, and Donald Moffatt ("The Thing") as Abbott, with Yorgo Voyagis, Denholm Elliott and Anthony Quayle ("Lawrence of Arabia") in other parts, the film, directed by TV vet Roger Young and penned by Carol Sobieski ("Fried Green Tomatoes"), it's a much more faithful adaptation of the novel, retaining Carlos as a villain. However, there are some differences -- Carlos is responsible for killing Bourne's wife and children, and in an eyebrow-raising move of "Inglourious Basterds"-esque historical inaccuracy, is killed at the conclusion of the film. It's not terrible, as such, but is a far more staid and traditional kind of spy caper, and certainly suffers in comparison to Liman's film. -- Oliver Lyttelton and Rodrigo Perez

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  • Nick | June 24, 2012 2:38 PMReply

    > "Tellingly, Marshall, Gilroy, Damon and several other production members appear in various elements of the bountiful "The Bourne Identity" DVD extras and features, but Liman is nowhere to be seen or found."

    Not quite true: the film's original DVD release includes a commentary from Liman. (However, it was omitted from the Special Edition DVD re-release, and I'm not sure if it's on the Blu-Ray)

  • Dhulk | July 16, 2014 8:56 PM

    It is in the (european) blu ray. I listened to it yesterday and it was full of praise for the cast and French crew. It did sound like it was recorded before the release of the movie. If you didn't know there was so much turmoil during the shoot you'd never notice it from his commentary track. Liman is also present in the other extras on the blu ray.

  • Stevo the Magnificent | June 16, 2012 12:04 AMReply

    One of the best action movies yet made without a doubt; tight, focused, emotionally engaging, thrilling, and not a single moment that's extraneous. I haven't a clue who should take the credit for how well it (and it's two superb sequels) all worked out, but I just know how good all three are, and I hope the eventual '24' movie will be as good...

  • sidsbowl | June 15, 2012 8:39 AMReply

    Gilroy took a big check to write a draft of Ultimatum that was rejected as "unfilmable" and then refused to do any rewrites, putting the production in a terrible position. Ultimatum was written by Scott Z Burns. Funny how Gilroy keeps forgetting that.

    The ending for Supremacy was rewritten by Matt Damon and George Nolfi. Their ending scored ten points higher with audiences.

  • Writers | June 16, 2012 11:15 PM

    You're right -- I think Gilroy receives an undue amount of credit for these films. Particularly when he personally hates them.

    Supremacy was a mix of Gilroy and Brian Helgeland -- Greengrass cut-n-pasted a shooting script together -- which is why Gilroy hates Greengrass more than Liman. And as you said, the Supremacy got a new ending written by George Nolfi.

    Ultimatum -- Gilroy didn't want to work with Greengrass again, so he took the (first draft only) money and ran. But his first draft was NOT unfilmable, and a LOT of it remains in the finished film (in story at least). After Gilroy, they hired Tom Stoppard. Not sure what he contributed (if anything). Then, Nolfi and Scott Z Burns, and the shooting script was a cut-n-paste mess AGAIN, but it resulted in the best film of the series.

  • Hewston | June 15, 2012 3:28 AMReply

    Love these features, please keep them up.

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