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Tony Gilroy Responds To Matt Damon's 'Ultimatum' Diss & More From Empire's Feature On 'The Bourne Legacy'

by Oliver Lyttelton
June 28, 2012 3:02 PM
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The new film opens up the world much further, with the possibility that even more Treadstone-type programs could pop up in future films.
Gilroy's approach turned out to delve further into the machinations of the CIA and their secret Treadstone and Blackbriar programs, coming up with parallel schemes, one of which -- Operation Outcome -- is the focus of "The Bourne Legacy." As Gilroy says, "If you think of the first three Bourne films as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, then we're showing you Elsinore. So you thought you were seeing something that you weren't. What if there were a larger story? What if Treadstone weren't the only black-ops programme? I think that's a really promising idea." And Outcome isn't the only one introduced in the new film; others come up too, which may figure further into later sequels. Frank Marshall says "You see there are several different programmes in the movie with different skill sets. All possibilities are open."

Don't call Edward Norton's character the villain.
One of the things that have set the original films apart is the complexity of the quote-unquote bad guys: almost all of the antagonists, from Chris Cooper in the original to Edgar Ramirez in the third, have their moments of sympathy -- they're not simply maniacs, but are fighting for a cause or following orders. And while Edward Norton's character, Ret. Colonel Ric Byer, described as "a puppet master," and the man tasked with tying up the loose ends of the secret ops, was said to be "a villain" in early trade reports, expect him to have more texture than that. Norton (in a rare blockbuster excursion) tells the magazine, "Tony hated it when people started publishing that I was the villain. Tony works in shades of grey and moral fog. It's too reductive to say 'villain.' I think he works in a more sophisticated way than that." Indeed, Gilroy sees a character as another manifestation of a theme that's run throughout the series. "One of the things that's always been fun about the Bourne series is that it's always been an expression of the fact that even when you think you're on the inside you can still be just a cog in a machine," he explained. "Then people start to realize that they've been co-opted and they begin to push back."

Jeremy Renner isn't worried about being in too many franchises.
After the success of "The Hurt Locker," Jeremy Renner suddenly became one of Hollywood's most in-demand leading men, signing on to several potential franchises in quick succession: "The Avengers," "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol" and "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters." Indeed, he was so busy that he initially wasn't thought to be a possibility for Bourne, with Joel Edgerton, Luke Evans, Anthony Mackie, Garrett Hedlund and Oscar Isaac among those who tested for the part. But as Gilroy says, "Jeremy wasn't on any of those 'available' lists until we got to the third wave. All of a sudden his name popped up, so Frank Marshall and I popped over to Berlin, where he was making 'Hansel & Gretel,' and we had dinner with him and showed him the script." Renner signed on, a little wary of carrying the series on his shoulders, but now he doesn't seem to be concerned about franchise-fatigue and clearly is just trying to enjoy the ride. "I stumbled across some really great pieces of cinema. I got really lucky," he said. "If we get to do another one of these, right on. If Tom wants me for another 'Mission,' I'm happy to do it... If 'Avengers 2' happens, awesome. If it doesn't, awesome. I'm not going to worry about what comes next. I'll just worry about talking to you right now. I could be dead by the time 'Avengers 2' comes around. Who knows? I don't want to be, but you know what I'm saying."

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  • Stephen Slack | October 1, 2013 3:56 AMReply

    I have the four Bourne movies on my DVR list with Direct TV. And my wife and I have watched these movies at least 10 times each. To us, they are the best movies that we've ever seen. We think that Tony Gilroy and his team are Masters of the Trade. Please continue. Personally, I would like to see Jason Bourne show up at Pam's trial as a surprise witness walking into the court and responding to the judge who asks him who he is, " I am Jason Bourne. May I help you find the truth?"

  • snazzy | July 28, 2012 12:12 PMReply

    Renner vs Damon - not the issue. It is Tony Gilroy who DID NOT write the Ultimatum final script but turned in garbage which had to be re-done by Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon. Universal is covering for Gilroy who is unethical, nasty, and an all-around snarky, sniveling person.

  • mr. chris | June 29, 2012 8:45 PMReply

    Oh and since it's Renner instead of Damon in this film you gotta replace Bourne's theme "Extreme ways" with an Aaron Cross theme, something like "Bad" by Michael Jackson or "Macho Man" by the Village People would be more fitting, or wait for it... "Karma Chameleon"

  • Mr. Chrid | June 29, 2012 8:35 PMReply

    Who gave Gilroy all this authority anyway? It's obvious it went to his head or maybe he's had a major ego problem the whole time? He alienated Greengrass and Damon from the series and already trying to lay claim to the 5th movie! Saying basically if Damon wants to be a part of my movies I suppose I could find some way to squeeze you into the movie! Are you kidding! Get rid of Gilroy! He's trashing one of the best series ever! Damon and Greengrass planned on re-uniting for the 5th film but Gilroy is trying to squash that. Jeremy Renner! Are you kidding that's a major FAIL! I'm not saying he's a bad actor but in this kind of role is a joke. Why don't they call it not so... Bourne Legacy? Considering Bourne is NOT EVEN IN THE MOVIE! Landing Edward Norton in this film was a success, I have to admit! It pains me to say I cannot watch the next installment to (after the Godfather) my favorite movie series of all time because Tony Gilroy and his ego is trashing it! Get rid of him! Or at least minimize his authority

  • Rallyindy | June 29, 2012 8:19 AMReply

    Renner is in love with big paychecks, that's for sure

  • Alan | June 29, 2012 4:25 AMReply

    "Jeremy Renner isn't worried about being in too many franchises." Why would he be? He's playing relatively different roles in those films, wannabe-alpha in 'Mission', support man in 'the Avengers' and top dog in 'Bourne'. With the exception of the oh-so-memorable Hawkeye, those roles have some dimension and texture, and Renner is a strong and versatile enough actor to differentiate those characters. This isn't like the Worthington situation: Renner is an excellent actor who will, creatively, make the most of whatever opportunities he has.

  • david | June 29, 2012 10:28 AM

    Because franchises last a while, and it means that he'll likely miss out on a lot of roles, possibly great ones. That's all.

  • exclusionist | June 28, 2012 6:27 PMReply

    They lost me when they said the new character had supergenes. Lame.

  • rollo tomasi | June 28, 2012 5:01 PMReply

    I was skepticle when I first heard about this movie, but the more and more i read and hear about it the more excited i get

  • eric | June 28, 2012 6:15 PM

    i was the same way, they just might pull it off. i love how they're keeping it so connected to the other 3.

  • rayray | June 28, 2012 4:38 PMReply

    big renner fan, i hope this is good

  • filmmaniac111 | June 28, 2012 3:37 PMReply

    gonna be awesome

  • kingslayer | June 28, 2012 3:29 PMReply

    i'm really excited about this one, i can't wait

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