By Edward Davis | The Playlist January 10, 2011 at 10:56AM
Let's not get it twisted. Everyone loves Matt Damon. He is one of the most beloved actors in the industry because he's a straight-shooter, super-approachable and one of the nicest people you will ever meet in the movie business. Recently a tasty little Damon/'Bourne' franchise news nugget started making the rounds. In a recent interview with Empire Magazine (via Get The Big Picture, not online yet apparently), Damon said, "I'd do ['Bourne'] again with Paul [Greengrass] (who directed Damon in the last two Bourne films, as well as 'Green Zone'.) Universal doesn't actually own the Bourne character - the estate does - so technically I could go to Warner Bros... and Universal could read about it online."
Umm, yeah, that's not right. Sure, the Ludlum estate owns the character, but Universal has licensed that character for the big screen up the wazoo; it is one of the crown-jewels of their current franchises hence the reason they are moving on without Damon -- it's a lucrative risk worth taking. It's only been, what, a near billion dollar franchise? Ok, it's box-office gross in total for all three films was just shy of a $1 billion dollars, but this is not counting the DVDs, the video games, etc.
So yes, Universal confirmed with us what we already know. They own the rights to the 'Bourne' character and while it reads like a nice idea, Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass cannot simply go to another studio and set up a film there, so those sites thinking that its possible... basic business strategies pretty much rule that out, fyi. Universal would not comment further on Damon's comments other than to say they own the film rights (and you best believe they will own them for years and years to come). Tony Gilroy -- the brains behind all of the 'Bourne' screenplays thus far -- is currently writing the 4th iteration of the 'Bourne' series titled, "The Bourne Legacy." It will not feature the character Jason Bourne and or Matt Damon, but the door will be left open for that character to return later down the road. Matt Damon's next project is Cameron Crowe's "We Bought A Zoo." Wishful thinkers to the back. As you were.