Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Exclusive: Tony Gilroy Pulls The Curtain Back On The Secretive 'The Bourne Legacy'

by Rodrigo Perez
July 20, 2012 12:08 PM
  • |

Gilroy says the 6 month shoot for “The Bourne Legacy” -- which hit locations as far and wide as Seoul, Korea, Manila, Jarkarta, Abu Dhabi, Northern Canada and several parts of the U.S. including crowded New York City -- was “physically taxing.” While it’s not impossible to do otherwise, the writer/director says for him to write convincing action he has to be physically present. For ‘Identity,’ he had already lived in Paris and knew its streets well. For ‘Supremacy,’ he went to Berlin and Moscow and on ‘Ultimatum’ it was Tangier, sitting on rooftops, mapping out how rooftop chases would go. "The more you know the world, the more know the physics of a geography."

The kinetic, shaky-cam aesthetic of the 'Bourne' films is an anathema to Gilroy. It’s similar to the chatty, pop-culture hit-men that arrived in every film post “Pulp Fiction”; he's seen the style done to death. He calls the disorientated sequences in "Full Metal Jacket" masterful and says the same about scenes in "Black Hawk Down," because they’re purposefully made to create a timbre of fear, but he also gives the series plaudits for inventing that visual language. "I think there are much greater offenders [than ‘Bourne],' " he says, "At least they had real gravity.” That pragmatic mandate has stuck. He says his team refers to themselves as “Mission: Plausible,” not “Mission: Impossible.” Similarly, while “The Bourne Legacy” isn’t a wholesale reinvention, the filmmaker thinks the former dynamic is played and has tried to expand the film's overall grammar. “Everybody's doing ‘Bourne.’ That’s an old party,” Gilroy says of the way the Bourne’s disorientation aesthetic and overall tone has been co-opted by every action movie under the sun. “You gotta know when It's time to leave. You don't want to be the last people out the door so let's go first.”

"Absent of global warming, lack of water and basic elements, the development of Nation States outside of our control is I think the greatest issue of our time.”

“I believe in corporate evolution,” Howard Tully, as played by Tom Wilkinson says ruthlessly in Gilroy’s sophomore effort, “Duplicity.” It may seem like a throwaway line in relation to the writer/director’s other films, but it’s a type of narrative raison d’etre for Gilroy. Not one that he consents to morally, but one he subscribes to narratively. Look at “Michael Clayton” and “Duplicity,” and you’ll see odious corporate influence at the nexus of his stories and this theme also drives “The Bourne Legacy.” After all, behind every corrupt politician willing to create a not-on-the-books Black Ops organization generally lies a corporate entity willing to profit from it.

At the heart of it all, pulling a lot of the unseen strings in the series so far is Edward Norton’s CIA architect agent Ret. Col. Ric Byer. “His character is just a complete polymath with a military background,” Gilroy said. “He's managed to prove a great power utilizing military muscle and bodies and resources with corporate money, corporate research and the intelligence communities need for everything.” Norton and Gilroy fit hand in glove and the filmmaker doubts this is the last time they’ll work together.

“It's so rich and real,” Gilroy said of the shady intersection where the military and corporate influence overlap, intersect and inbreed. It’s endless narrative fodder for him, and those illicit and corrupt operations not only helped him launch the ‘Bourne’ series, but sustain its ideas indefinitely. “It's vampiric,” he said. “It really is. Absent of global warming, lack of water and basic elements, the development of Nation States outside of our control is I think the greatest issue of our time.”

“There's a very large corporate elements [at play in the film], pharmaceutical corporate elements, and all of this is very, very real,” Gilroy says suggesting all one needs to do for inspiration is look at their headlines in their newspaper.

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    


  • snazzy | July 22, 2012 10:36 AMReply

    Ask Tony Gilroy if he wrote any of the finished product of the Bourne Ultimatum. I cannot stand the guy and he was the one that got Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon off the new film.

  • precisely so | July 22, 2012 5:58 AMReply

    Gilroy didn't write Ultimatum - it was written by George Nolfi and Scott Z Burns after he walked off the picture. But he must have liked their idea of inserting a phone call from another movie - since he admits right upfront he stole it for this movie. Why do you guys never call him on this stuff?

  • Duh | July 22, 2012 10:25 AM

    Yeah, he did. He wrote 1 draft and it was a condition of working on the film --since he didn't want to -- that he wrote one draft and one draft only. When there were problems later on, two writers were called in to work on it. Even Matt Damon said he wrote a draft (one that Damon dissed earlier this year).

    That's very public record stuff. How do you not know that before opening your mouth?

  • Arnold | July 21, 2012 9:53 AMReply

    Thx for this news, i ve been waiting for this news for a long time :)

  • JJ's uncle | July 21, 2012 7:27 AMReply

    Don't worry, Gilroy. As you yourself imply, Americans love crap. It should do great!

  • kerry | July 20, 2012 5:08 PMReply

    the more and more information i get about this movie the more i feel confident it will be good

  • shutthefuckupdonnie | July 20, 2012 1:27 PMReply

    i like gilroy i think he's a good director and i think he'll do a good job with this

  • ronin | July 20, 2012 12:55 PMReply

    i know there are skeptics out there but i think this has a shot to be really good, i mean great cast , great director i think it will be good

  • cameran | July 20, 2012 12:45 PMReply

    i really like gilroy, i think michael clayton was definitly one of the best films of the last decade, i can't wait to see this

  • kingslayer | July 20, 2012 12:40 PMReply

    wow i didn't know corey stoll was in this, now i'm even more excited

  • Matt | July 20, 2012 12:25 PMReply

    Come on, guys, it's ROBERT Elswit, not ROGER.

Email Updates