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Universal Buys New Spy Franchise From Josh Zetumer, Scribe Behind Unused 'Bourne 4' Script

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist February 15, 2012 at 5:00PM

Let's rewind back to the fall of 2009 shall we? It was ugly time inside the offices of Universal, as executives were in a battle with Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon a fourth entry in the Jason Bourne series. Not to rehash the whole drama, but essentially, George Nolfi had penned a draft that wasn't quite working and without consulting Paul Greengrass, Universal brought in Josh Zetumer to write a "parallel" script for consideration. Coming into the gig, Zetumer was a hot name, if not quite known outside Hollywood just yet. His name was a staple of the Black List and he already had "The Infiltrator" in development with Leonard DiCaprio's company Appian Way, and wrote a draft for Peter Berg's ultimately aborted "Dune." And while "Bourne 4" never came to pass, the script was still knocking around it seems some light bulbs have gone off over at Unviersal.
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Let's rewind back to the fall of 2009 shall we? It was ugly time inside the offices of Universal, as executives were in a battle with Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon regarding a fourth entry in the Jason Bourne series. Not to rehash the whole drama, but essentially, George Nolfi had penned a draft that wasn't quite working and without consulting Paul Greengrass, Universal brought in Josh Zetumer to write a "parallel" script for consideration. Coming into the gig, Zetumer was a hot name, if not quite known outside Hollywood just yet. His name was a staple of the Black List and he already had "The Infiltrator" in development with Leonardo DiCaprio's company Appian Way, and wrote a draft for Peter Berg's ultimately aborted "Dune." And while "Bourne 4" never came to pass, the script was still knocking around, and it seems some light bulbs have gone off over at Unviersal.

Deadline is reporting that Zetumer used the experience gained on "Bourne 4" to smartly write a fresh spy franchise, which Universal has wisely snapped up. What is it about? Who knows, but we can only guess that with the reception of "The Bourne Legacy" still a question mark, and Matt Damon's returning to the series an even bigger guessing game at this point, it's probably nice to have something franchise ready in reserve to continue pursuing a path that has served them well thus far. And indeed, in 2012, Universal has been showing strong legs with genre fare. Both "Contraband" and "Safe House" earned #1 openings with strong numbers, showing that the studio has marketing and delivering this stuff down to a science.

As for Zetumer, his name you'll be hearing a lot more. He was first tapped to write MGM's "RoboCop" reboot and he's got a project called "Vale" over at Warner Brothers. The doors keep opening for the writer, now it's time to see one of his works on the big screen.

This article is related to: Universal Pictures, Josh Zetumer


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