Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
What Was I Watching Before? Bryan Singer Says 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Is "The True Birth Of The X-Men" What Was I Watching Before? Bryan Singer Says 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Is "The True Birth Of The X-Men" Review & Recap: 'True Detective' Season 2, Episode 3 'Maybe Tomorrow' Review & Recap: 'True Detective' Season 2, Episode 3 'Maybe Tomorrow' Zack Snyder Defends 'Man Of Steel' Finale, Ben Affleck Reveals Bruce Wayne Knew People Who Died In That Battle Zack Snyder Defends 'Man Of Steel' Finale, Ben Affleck Reveals Bruce Wayne Knew People Who Died In That Battle New Book Contends Eric Stoltz Was “Difficult” & The Cast Wasn’t Shocked He Was Replaced On ‘Back To The Future’ New Book Contends Eric Stoltz Was “Difficult” & The Cast Wasn’t Shocked He Was Replaced On ‘Back To The Future’ Watch: Scott Lang Wants To Call The Avengers In New International 'Ant-Man' Trailer Watch: Scott Lang Wants To Call The Avengers In New International 'Ant-Man' Trailer Watch: Epic New Trailer For Werner Herzog's 'Queen Of The Desert' With Nicole Kidman, Robert Pattinson, & More Watch: Epic New Trailer For Werner Herzog's 'Queen Of The Desert' With Nicole Kidman, Robert Pattinson, & More The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far Zack Snyder Reveals The Easter Egg Idea He Pitched Christopher Nolan And David Goyer For 'Man Of Steel' Zack Snyder Reveals The Easter Egg Idea He Pitched Christopher Nolan And David Goyer For 'Man Of Steel' New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet Mads Mikkelsen And Hugh Dancy Released From Their 'Hannibal' Contracts Mads Mikkelsen And Hugh Dancy Released From Their 'Hannibal' Contracts Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Watch: Michael Fassbender Plays ‘Steve Jobs’ In New Trailer For Oscar-Contender Co-Starring Kate Winslet & Seth Rogen Watch: Michael Fassbender Plays ‘Steve Jobs’ In New Trailer For Oscar-Contender Co-Starring Kate Winslet & Seth Rogen Tom Cruise Still Gearing Up For 'Top Gun 2,' Story Will Involve Drone Warfare Tom Cruise Still Gearing Up For 'Top Gun 2,' Story Will Involve Drone Warfare Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far 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

Matt Damon's Loyalty To Paul Greengrass & Friction With Tony Gilroy May Prevent Another Movie For Jason Bourne

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist December 20, 2011 at 9:30AM

It's pretty rare for nice guy Matt Damon to stick the knife in anyone, but when he spoke to GQ recently, his candid remarks about screenwriter, and longtime Bourne series scribe Tony Gilroy, made their way around the world. Calling Gilroy's draft for "The Bourne Ultimatum" a "career-ender" and "readable" (it was later rewritten by George Nolfi and Scott Z. Burns), it was another sting sent to the screenwriter who has already had a rocky relationship with the franchise.
5
Matt Damon Paul Greengrass Tony Gilroy

It's pretty rare for nice guy Matt Damon to stick the knife in anyone, but when he spoke to GQ recently, his candid remarks about screenwriter, and longtime Bourne series scribe Tony Gilroy, made their way around the world. Calling Gilroy's draft for "The Bourne Ultimatum" a "career-ender" and "unreadable" (it was later rewritten by George Nolfi and Scott Z. Burns), it was another sting sent to the screenwriter who has already had a rocky relationship with the franchise. The short version is that he more or less hated the first two films, and made Universal pay him through the nose for the third installment (with the added condition that he didn't have to talk to Greengrass). But Universal is sticking by Gilroy, who also happens to be directing "The Bourne Legacy" (more on that in a second).

Donna Langley, Universal's co-chairman, told The Hollywood Reporter about 'Ultimatum' that she was "thrilled with the script Tony submitted and greenlit the film based on that script." And this is where things get tricky and become the crux of the Greengrass/Damon/Gilroy dispute. In their respective minds, Greengrass and Gilroy believe they are the leading voice of the Bourne franchise, however, they are on polar opposite sides when it comes to turning a script into a film.

"Paul and Tony have clashing styles," a source told THR. "Tony does all the work before and delivers a finished script. Paul wants the script to be ever-evolving during shooting." So that means expensive re-writes and re-shoots (which happend on pretty much every Bourne movie to one degree or another), and Universal didn't seem to care as long as the money kept rolling in, which it did, with more and more each time. Then there was "Green Zone."

As we reported back in 2009 when Paul Greengrass first exited "Bourne 4," the film was supposed to be a tiny pet project made between the blockbuster series, in order to keep the director and Damon happy. But when Greengrass' method of "finding the movie" during shooting caused the production budget to run to $150 million and couple that with its $94 million worldwide haul, the cost conscious studio was suddenly wary of going down a financially unpredictable path with the director, even if it was on another 'Bourne'.

In November of that year, Universal execs took Damon out to dinner and told him they wanted to move ahead with the series, but the actor stuck with his director, refusing to continue without him. And so entered Gilroy once again, who came up with an idea for a story to center around a different agent (now played by Jeremy Renner) leaving things open for Damon and Greengrass to come back one day. So, everything is gravy right? Well, it was until Universal decided to let Gilroy direct it too without telling Damon or Greengrass.

"It certainly wasn't an omission for any reason. You just have to move on with your business," Langley now claims, while adding that "the franchise can live on [with Renner]. If at some point it can include Matt Damon, fantastic. If it can't, we're reconciled to that."

But it seems that rift between Damon/Greengrass and Gilroy is still very, very deep. As Damon explained to KCRW after dropping truthbombs at GQ, it was him seeing the 'Legacy' production offices in the vicinity of Neill Blomkamp's "Elysium" that he's now shooting that set him off. "I was seeing this every day, and then I came back to New York and did this interview and kind of blurted it out…It was idiotic of me to say anything. At the end of the day, it's between me and Tony, and we'll figure it out or we won't," he said.

"I think if [Bourne Legacy] doesn't work, we can just ignore it and pretend it didn't happen, and that'd be fine," Damon also said. "But I expect that it will work and only help us if we did another one, which I'd love to do." But with Gilroy and Greengrass at odds, Universal cinching their belts (look at the number of projects they axed this year including Greengrass' "Memphis") and seemingly ready to move on with the franchise whether or not Damon comes back and well...you can read between the lines.

Of course, this all depends on how well (or not) "The Bourne Leagcy" does when it opens on August 3, 2012. 

This article is related to: Matt Damon, Paul Greengrass, Tony Gilroy


The Playlist

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


E-Mail Updates