A bombshell was dropped a couple of days ago when news broke that Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass are currently in discussions to return to the Bourne franchise, with Greengrass also penning the screenplay. The prospect of the duo responsible for the brilliant The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum coming back to the series was an exciting one, but it raised a lot of questions about Universal’s other Bourne franchise. When Damon and Greengrass departed the Bourne series, Universal kept the property alive with The Bourne Legacy, which saw Jeremy Renner playing another agent living and working in the same universe as Bourne. The film did so-so at the box office, but Universal was happy enough that it began developing a sequel with director Justin Lin to hit theaters in 2016.
When we learned that Greengrass and Damon were talking about returning to the Bourne series, we heard that Universal was also hoping to make that film before the Legacy sequel, taking over the Renner-fronted film’s 2016 release date. Now some clarity has materialized with regards to the situation, as Greegrass could instead shoot an entirely different movie before Bourne. More after the jump.
Speaking with THR, veteran producer Frank Marshall confirms that there are discussions with Greengrass and Damon about returning, but adds that the Legacy follow-up is not dead:
“[The Bourne Legacy sequel] is moving forward,” insists Marshall. “It’s still in development. We’re working to get a script as soon as possible.” Marshall adds that because there are no deals with Damon or Greengrass, the strategy is to proceed with both projects simultaneously… “We’re on two tracks,” he says. “And if this one [with Damon and Greengrass] comes together, great, but they’re still just talking.”
Complicating matters is the fact that Greengrass is actively developing a few other projects at the moment, including a film about Richard Jewell, who was hailed as a hero upon discovering a suspicious backpack during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics before eventually becoming vilified as a possible terrorist suspect. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill began developing the project last year after their collaboration on The Wolf of Wall Street, and we first heard about Greengrass’ involvement as a director last week.
THR notes that Greengrass has been negotiating to direct the Jewell film, but Fox is still deciding whether it’s ready to give the project the green light. That has led to speculation that Greengrass began publicly flirting with the idea of returning to Bourne as a way to spur Fox into action. If the studio thinks they might lose Greengrass to a sure-to-be box office hit with another Bourne film at Universal, they might be more likely to get the Richard Jewell movie going ASAP.
As a result, this Bourne reunion is still in a state of uncertainty, though it’s undoubtedly more real than it has been since Greengrass and Damon departed the franchise years ago. We’ll have to see how things pan out and which film moves forward, but I imagine we’ll see a Bourne movie starring either Damon or Renner in July 2016.