By Edward Davis | The Playlist July 12, 2011 at 12:49PM
Damn, this is major fine casting. Edward Norton is in negotiations to play the villain in Tony Gilroy's "The Bourne Legacy" which is already set to star "The Hurt Locker" lead Jeremy Renner. Currently there are no further details on Norton's role, how it will play into Gilroy's continuation of the 'Bourne' saga, but we know that Matt Damon won't be returning and by all accounts this is a side-story that exists within the realm of the greater 'Bourne' universe.
Aside from Doug Liman, who first brought the Bourne films to Universal as a labor of love (he burned that bridge during "The Bourne Identity"), Gilroy, who wrote and had a hand in all three 'Bourne' scripts (even though some were rewritten without him after the fact) is said to be the brains behind the action thriller franchise.
While we, and others, speculated and assumed months ago that "The Bourne Legacy" would follow the further clandestine exploits of Treadstone, Renner will play an operative from a covert government program, however it isn’t the Treadstone’s brainwashing program that birthed Jason Bourne, and it’s apparently a group that is “even more dangerous than Treadstone.”
However, remember, it is a true sequel and takes place after "The Bourne Ultimatum." "Ultimatum exploded at the end with people arrested. [In the new film] we deal with that as a reality, it has ramifications that echo out into the larger world," Gilroy said a few months ago. "And of course, Jason Bourne is still alive and out there in the world" (he also promises the film is not a "dream sequence," in case you were wondering).
Norton and Renner is some heavyweight casting and they'll join Rachel Weisz who is scheduled to play the love interest (seriously, what a cast). We're hoping some of the other actors who were in the mix for the lead, like Luke Evans and Dominic Cooper show up in supporting roles, but they're being booked solid as their star meter is rising quickly. How about Anthony Mackie for a "Hurt Locker" reunion? Gilroy's directorial debut "Michael Clayton" earned him a Best Directing nomination and earned itself seven Oscar nomination. Tilda Swinton won for Best Supporting Actress, but damn, that's not too shabby for your first time out of the gate. His follow-up "Duplicity," was stylish, but a little hollow, so here's hoping he anchors the directorial leaps he made on his sophomore film with the gravitas and character building he mastered with his debut. Our hopes are extremely high. “The Bourne Legacy” is scheduled to land in theaters in August 2012.