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Burt Reynolds Nearly Starred In '80s Version Of 'Bourne Identity'; Watch 3-Hour 1988 Version With Richard Chamberlain

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist June 10, 2013 at 1:34PM

While we wait for Universal to figure out what they're going to do with the Jason Bourne franchise following "The Bourne Legacy," let's take a trip way back in time and discover how the franchise could've turned out. This would have been when Matt Damon just a fresh-faced kid, and when Burt Reynolds was a legitimate box office star instead of that guy from "Boogie Nights" your Dad was all excited about.
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The Bourne Identity Burt Reynolds

While we wait for Universal to figure out what they're going to do with the Jason Bourne franchise following "The Bourne Legacy," let's take a trip way back in time and discover how the franchise could've turned out. This would have been when Matt Damon just a fresh-faced kid, and when Burt Reynolds was a legitimate box office star instead of that guy from "Boogie Nights" your Dad was all excited about.

That's right, in an otherwise bone-dry boring legal story on THR about a lawsuit involving the rights to the franchise (go there for all the details, because, whatever), it's revealed that way back in the early '80s, Warner Bros. set Burt Reynolds to lead their adaptation of Robert Ludlum's "The Bourne Identity." Yeah, that would've been really different. But this was probably right around the time the actor was lighting up the box office with stuff like "Smokey And the Bandit" and "Cannonball Run," and while he can do dramatic ("Deliverance"), still, it woulda been hard to see him as an assassin with a wiped memory.

Oh, what could have been... but actually, Ludlum fans likely already know, there was another actor to carry the Jason Bourne name: Richard Chamberlain. He starred in a 3-hour 1988 TV-version for ABC. Whether or not it's any good, you'll have to tell us and thanks to the magic of the internet, you can watch the whole damn thing below.

This article is related to: The Bourne Identity, Burt Reynolds


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