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

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist August 26, 2013 at 3:11PM

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.
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Paul Greengrass Matt Damon

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.

This article is related to: Bourne 5, Matt Damon, Paul Greengrass, The Bourne Legacy