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Updated: Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Getting Re-'Bourne' With Universal As Talks Reportedly Get Underway

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by Kevin Jagernauth
August 26, 2013 3:11 PM
20 Comments
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Update: Variety says there is no truth to the Damon/Greengrass/Bourne rumors. Granted, that's pretty much what Universal would say until everything is place, but we'll see how it all plays out.

The lesson here kids? Never say never. While Matt Damon has spent the last few years politely answering questions about returning to play Jason Bourne, he made one thing crystal clear: not without Paul Greengrass. With the British filmmaker busy making "Captain Phillips" and lining up other potential gigs, the possibility seemed a faint one for the forseeable future. But all of a sudden the wheels are in motion and it looks like Jason Bourne might be coming back in from the cold.

Twitch reports that "simultaneous negotiations" are happening with Damon and Greengrass to return the series — and that's about all we know at this point. It's an intriguing development given that it was just a few short weeks ago we learned Universal was gearing up "Bourne 5," with Jeremy Renner slated to return as Aaron Cross. The site notes that: "It's not an either / or scenario between Renner and Bourne with Universal planning to continue with the Aaron Cross stream of Bourne films regardless of what happens on the Damon front...."

The most curious thing about all of this is how reluctant Damon has been in the past, particularly concerning the arc of Jason Bourne. With the character now aware of his identity, he previously said it makes it "a real struggle to extend the franchise." 

"I don't know what that story would be," Damon told us at the end of last year. "I love Jeremy and I'm a huge fan of him and I know him personally and love him outside of work, too. But I just don't know what that story would be. I could never see Bourne teaming up with anyone. And all he said was – he wanted out, he wanted out, he wanted out. So how do you get that character going again?" It's definitely a question that needs answering.

Controversially, screenwriter Tony Gilroy, the longtime shepherd of series — he's had a hand in writing every film thus far — who was promoted to the director's chair for "The Bourne Legacy," isn't returning for the 5th 'Bourne' installment with Aaron Cross as another screenwriter has been already been hired. More pointedly, Gilroy's experiences on the Greengrass 'Bourne' films were rocky at best, and by time "The Bourne Ultimatum" rolled around he only agreed to write a script on the condition that he would submit only one draft and then walk away (which he did; this is the one Damon famously trashed). One would figure if anyone could sort out how to get Jason Bourne back in the game, it would be him, though maybe Universal will want a fresh approach.

More questions than answers at this point, but it looks like Bourne might be back.

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20 Comments

  • northman | September 6, 2013 12:01 PMReply

    Matt should get back to making a movie people wanted to see.

  • Glass | August 30, 2013 4:22 PMReply

    Matt and Paul never said 'never' - they actually made a point to not say 'never'.

  • Splendid monkeys | August 27, 2013 1:11 PMReply

    Since it has now been revealed that the NSA is up to even more horrible violations than was dreamt of in the Trilogy (which are the only Bourne movies imo) I think it's possible that Damon and Greengrass may now have more to say on the topic of government trampling civil rights.

  • snazzy | August 27, 2013 8:31 AMReply

    I never saw Bourne Legacy so I couldn't say it was good or bad. I would see a Bourne movie with Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) in it, though.

  • Miss cues | August 26, 2013 7:14 PMReply

    Let's see, does the public prefer moronic druggie or brilliant special ops soldier? Hard to know.

  • Elizabet | August 26, 2013 6:57 PMReply

    I guess that whole, "Hey, let's make a pretend Bourne movie on the cheap!" thing didn't work out so well, huh?

    Well, I sure couldn't see THAT coming!

  • Human manners | August 26, 2013 6:50 PMReply

    Legacy was just a chem-influenced fever dream. I will be glad to forget it. As a matter of fact, I think I already did.

  • Martine | August 26, 2013 6:02 PMReply

    That sucks! I really loved 'Bourne Legacy', and I am really tired of Matt Damon. So what he realizes that his liberal bandwagon movies keep on flopping so now he crawls back with his tail between his legs? Yeah..some bad ass. I don't want Greengrass and his shaky camera cold war crap.

  • Juliette | August 26, 2013 4:51 PMReply

    When I walked out of Ultimatum I said "That was great! I hope they don't make another one - it is all wrapped up". Legacy had it faults but now I can see it going in many different directions and I am excited to see what happens next. I give Gilroy full credit for that, even though I do not rate him as an action director. To be honest I hope they run with the implications of cutting edge science and business involvement instead of the same old spy stuff.

  • Randy Russell | August 26, 2013 4:24 PMReply

    I won't watch unless they tie Bourne and Cross together. A short lived partnership would be badass.

  • Chad | August 26, 2013 4:03 PMReply

    Damon needs a hit, and Greengrass's shaky cam to make him look like a fighter - let's hope it won't end up like Elysium - that film is not watchable.

  • Frank | August 26, 2013 3:56 PMReply

    Also calling Tony Gilroy the 'shepherd' of the series is just flat-out wrong. He got a screen credit but he had little to do with what ended up on-screen in the first three movies.

  • snazzy | August 27, 2013 8:34 AM

    From all accounts, Tony Gilroy was the problem. He wrote useless scripts, he is difficult to work with, and he trash talks the people around him.

  • Alan B | August 27, 2013 4:39 AM

    The truth is between these two extremes. On the first one, Gilroy utilized a plot synopsis that Liman gave him and then turned that into the 2002 film. He constantly sparred with Liman and disagreed with some of the director's choices. On the second one, Gilroy's draft was rewritten by Helgeland, chiefly the first act, but the majority of the script was Gilroy's (chiefly, the ending involving B0urne apologizing). The third one was, according to ALL SOURCES, completely rewritten by other writers. In no way, shape or form could anyone even remotely aware of the making of that film call Gilroy the "shepherd" of that film. It was Greengrass' baby, and he worked with many collaborators to realize the culmination of Bourne's story. However, I love the assertion that Greengrass "makes shit up as he goes along". If - by that - you mean he doesn't let the film sag for 40 minutes of set-up, throw in a BILLION references to "chems" (a FASCINATING plot that everyone was RIVETED BY) and then end the film by NOT having the hero confront the villain (instead he confronts SUPER-DUPER-SUPER-SUPER SOLDIER, a plot device that showed that Gilroy was SERIOUSLY running out of ideas), then sure, that Greengrass really dropped the ball on Gilroy's AMAZING ideas.

  • Human manners | August 26, 2013 6:53 PM

    Tony Gilroy's a much better politician than he is a movie maker (see Legacy). Good riddance.

  • Frank | August 26, 2013 4:33 PM

    He wrote all those scripts -- none of which were used.

  • Edward Davis | August 26, 2013 4:21 PM

    Yeah, they gave him Legacy for no reason. He wrote all those script and he's been the only consistent part of all the bourne films. Sure, script are altered and always change -- mostly because Greengrass makes shit up as he goes along, but that ain't Gilroy's fault.

  • cobraverde | August 26, 2013 3:49 PMReply

    There is a certain purity to the climax of the Jason Bourne story. But why did David Webb join Treadstone in the first place? That was the thread left open.

  • Martine | August 26, 2013 6:09 PM

    Why did David Webb do anything?

  • Frank | August 26, 2013 3:47 PMReply

    Not surprised after Elysium. Wonder how this bodes for Captain Phillips. Wasn't Greengrass' MLK movie back on?

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