Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Cannes Review: Gaspar Noé's Hardcore And Softhearted 'Love' Cannes Review: Gaspar Noé's Hardcore And Softhearted 'Love' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Cannes Review: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 'The Assassin' Is An Epic Visual Poem Cannes Review: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 'The Assassin' Is An Epic Visual Poem The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Review: Brad Bird’s ‘Tomorrowland’ Starring George Clooney, Britt Robertson & Hugh Laurie Review: Brad Bird’s ‘Tomorrowland’ Starring George Clooney, Britt Robertson & Hugh Laurie Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Cannes Review: Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario' Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin And Benicio Del Toro Cannes Review: Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario' Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin And Benicio Del Toro George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead 'Mad Max' In 2006, Reveals Title For 'Fury Road' Sequel George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead 'Mad Max' In 2006, Reveals Title For 'Fury Road' Sequel George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

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

The Playlist By Rodrigo Perez | The Playlist July 20, 2012 at 12:08PM

Tony Gilroy has a mini-armada at his disposal. In June of 2012, in an unassuming block of offices in midtown Manhattan, the writer/director is sequestered with a team of editors orchestrating the next installment of Universal’s lucrative ‘Bourne’ franchise, which grossed nearly a billion dollars worldwide theatrically and a surfeit more from DVD and omnipresent cable appearances. But Gilroy -- who was nominated for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay in 2007 for "Michael Clayton," and is the author of all three original ‘Bourne’ scripts -- isn’t simply mounting a reboot or a reimagining, or conducting a linear sequel. Instead, the filmmaker is attempting to pull off a feat rarely attempted with Hollywood tentpoles: a parallel circumnavigation of the familiar ‘Bourne’ narrative told through the eyes of another agent.
11
Bourne Legacy, Ed Norton, skip crop

But composing ‘Bourne’ was never very simple. Not for a fourth iteration and not even during its nascent beginnings. At the risk of sounding redundant, “The Bourne Identity” was plagued by set problems, delays and setbacks, and the events of 9/11 further affected the approach studios and filmmakers made toward any geopolitically-flavored film. Director Doug Liman -- who brought the Robert Ludlum-penned books to Universal in the first place -- was effectively barred from helming any further sequels and everyone involved assumed the film would be a turkey.

“Oh man, nobody was more surprised than me. It's a very long and quite honestly, a story people have avoided talking about for a long time,” Gilroy said about “The Bourne Identity” drama. “It really was a very dire situation, the key participants in the film were the people who were most shocked at its success.”

Gilroy said after principal photography on the film was completed, he and the producers on the film had to spend an additional year repairing and deconstructing the movie with reshoots and re-editing. An entire post-9/11, friendly fail-safe ending was shot and then discarded (it’s on the DVD extras). He calls the experience extremely educational in the manner in which a movie is malleable. “It's not a way to make a movie,” he stressed. “I learned a lot about what I would never do.”

"It's not a way to make a movie. I learned a lot about what I would never do.”

Gilroy’s antipathy towards Paul Greengrass is no secret. Suffice to say they butted heads during the makings of “The Bourne Supremacy” and “The Bourne Ultimatum.” When Greengrass deconstructed Gilroy’s screenplay in ‘Ultimatum’ (as he did with ‘Supremacy’) and painted himself into a corner on set, unlike ‘Identity’ -- where Gilroy would fax in changes and rewrites that very day -- the screenwriter was nowhere to be found. Part of his own ultimatum for writing the 'Ultimatum' screenplay was not babysitting the script outside of a master draft (instead screenwriters Scott Z. Burns and George Nolfi were called in as fixers).

Nearly $1 billion dollars later, the ‘Bourne’ trilogy had wrapped and arguably concluded itself with satisfying finality. Jason Bourne discovered he was originally born as David Webb in Indiana. He was a patriot who volunteered for the Treadstone program, and he no longer suffered from selective retrograde amnesia. He was free. As far as Damon and Greengrass were concerned, the themes of identity and amnesia were pounded into the ground. Two aborted “Bourne 4” screenplays later, the direction with where to take the next film eluded everyone; and the drafts penned were never to the liking of Greengrass and Damon. In the fall of 2009, two years after “The Bourne Ultimatum” was released, Greengrass walked away from the series (something The Playlist reported first) and with loyalties intact, effectively took Damon with him; the actor refusing to star in a ‘Bourne’ picture without his director.

While both filmmaker and star would not rule out a return to the series one day, they acknowledged, until a good idea surfaced, they would let the series lie as it was. “There were no traditional good ways to go,” Gilroy said. “They were sort of out of road.” And Gilroy was long gone by then too, having already chalked up an impressive seven Oscar nominations for his directorial debut “Michael Clayton,” and released his sophomore effort, the corporate espionage picture, “Duplicity.”

This article is related to: The Bourne Legacy, Tony Gilroy, Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton, Rachel Weisz, Features, Interviews, Interview


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates