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Matt Damon Talks Bourne, Gilroy's Career-Ender and Hurt Feelings

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood December 15, 2011 at 10:28AM

GQ's Amy Wallace went to the zoo with Matt Damon. But they don't talk much about Cameron Crowe's "We Bought a Zoo." Instead they dig into the "Bourne" franchise, as Damon explains the script play-by-play on the three installments, "The Bourne Identity," "The Bourne Supremacy," and "The Bourne Ultimatum."
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Damon, Gilroy, GQ

GQ's Amy Wallace went to the zoo with Matt Damon. But they don't talk much about Cameron Crowe's "We Bought a Zoo."  Instead they dig into the "Bourne" franchise, as Damon explains the script play-by-play on the three installments, "The Bourne Identity," "The Bourne Supremacy," and "The Bourne Ultimatum." The winner of an original screenplay Oscar (with Ben Affleck) for "Good Will Hunting" complains that Tony Gilroy, who wrote all three, took "an exorbitant amount of money" to write one draft of the third film (with no notes or rewrites). Damon's opinion of that draft: "It's just that it was unreadable. This is a career-ender. I mean, I could put this thing up on eBay and it would be game over for that dude. It's terrible. It's really embarrassing. He was having a go, basically, and he took his money and left."

Not to worry, Damon offered this apology before GQ went to print: "My feelings were hurt. That's all. And that's exactly why I shouldn’t have said anything. This is between me and him. So saying anything publicly is fucking stupid and unprofessional and just kind of douchey of me." Not that he's that worried. Steven Soderbergh (who directed Damon in several films, including this year's "Contagion") tells GQ the actor is "probably the least vain person in his position out there. He has no interest in protecting any sort of idea of himself as an actor."

The context is that Gilroy went on to write and direct the fourth "The Bourne Legacy" after Paul Greengrass left the franchise, and Damon with him. Gilroy and Jeremy Renner are forging ahead with #4, which has nothing to do with Damon, who does hope to return to the character at some point.

À la his "hetero lifemate" Affleck, Damon will soon transition into directing, with a script he wrote with John Krasinski. Here are details.

This article is related to: Box Office, Franchises, Matt Damon, Directors, Headliners


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.