Matt Damon Talks the Possibility of Returning to the BOURNE Franchise; Says He Asked Jonathan Nolan to Take a Crack at the Story

     December 10, 2012


Universal Pictures released the Matt Damon-less fourth entry in the Bourne franchise, The Bourne Legacy, earlier this year to a decidedly mediocre response from critics and audiences.  At $275 million it wasn’t in any way a box office bomb, but against a budget of $125 million (not counting marketing), the film wasn’t a runaway success either.  Though Jeremy Renner was a suitable lead and director Tony Gilroy took the series in an interesting direction (CHEMS!), fans have still been eager to see star Matt Damon return to the franchise.

A couple of months ago, Damon went on record saying that it’s unlikely he’ll play the character again since The Bourne Legacy happens in canon and going forward, he and director Paul Greengrass would have to build off of that story instead of creating something all their own.  Now Damon has talked a bit more about the possibility of returning, revealing that he actually enlisted the help of The Dark Knight screenwriter Jonathan Nolan to try to craft a plausible story that would see Bourne return.  Hit the jump to see what he had to say.

bourne-ultimatum-matt-damonSpeaking with Deadline, Damon said in order for him to return to the role two things need to happen:

“Paul Greengrass has to want to do it, and secondly and equally important, it comes down to Paul and I knowing what the hell we want to do. We just don’t have a story, and we haven’t had one.”

Given that Damon and Greengrass couldn’t get a line on the story, Damon reveals that he actually went to someone quite adept at crafting blockbuster dramas for a little help:

“I quietly went to Jonah Nolan, because he and his brother Chris did such a brilliant job on Batman and that whole mythology. I just said, can you put your brain on this? I can’t figure it out. And he took a run at it and he couldn’t crack it either. Paul and I have been talking about it for years. And we can’t quite see what the movie would be.”

matt-damon-paul-greengrass-bourneEssentially we’re in the same boat as we were in October when Damon said he was unlikely to return to the role, but I find it interesting that he reached out to Nolan.  If the guy behind The Dark Knight and The Prestige can’t figure out how to bring Damon’s Bourne back following the events of The Bourne Ultimatum and Legacy, I’m not sure anyone can.

Damon went on to add that he and Greengrass aren’t opposed to coming back at all, it just comes down to making it worthwhile:

“Neither of us is against it. I would love to do another one. I love that character. To me, the reason to make that movie is because people want to see it. Paul and I have said that to each other. We don’t take for granted the fact that we’ve built an audience for Bourne, that’s a real privilege. But our part of that bargain is that the movie is good and belongs with the other three. Until we can deliver that, we just can’t make it.”

Never say never, but I wouldn’t hold my breath for Damon and Greengrass to return to the Bourne franchise anytime soon.


  • sloan

    cold open, Aaron cross, sitting on a boat at night, smoking a cigar. Suddenly, his throat is slit from behind and lightning crack reveals…. wait for it, wait for it….. JASON BORNE. Roll credits, the end.

    • ChanandelerBong

      You couldve at least gotten the name right.

      • Tarek

        Jason Bourne is born again.

  • tarek

    I can help you Matt ( Damon, of course, not goldberg).
    I will work it out and send you a synopsis.

  • sedna

    Well…if Nolan’s bro can’t crack it, bring on the bro – and if he can’t, then there’s no more Bourne films to make. lol

  • zac

    of course there’s gonna be another bourne (damon one) its just a matter of enough time passing by, just look at all the 4s we’ve had so far from old franchises good (ghost protocol) and bad (indy 4 ) but it’s too valuable of a franchise and damon too huge of a star not to do it. I’m sure with the success of Skyfall, Damon and Universal will want something equivalent, maybe not in a couple years but ten years later when David Webb is in Suburbia living the quiet dream with a family and the bam…phone call “Jason I’ve been looking for you” (moby music kicks in)

  • Mars

    The Bourne storyline was completed with a really satisfying end. I think the Cross storyline could go further from here, given that Legacy felt more like just a first act of a much larger film. The gov’t still has the building blocks for Outcome, LARX, and probably more programs and they still have a loose agent on the run. Basically the would need to find and kill Cross, then restart LARX or a new program with better science. What those agents have accomplished in the field is obviously way too valuable to just dismantle and give up on completely.

    • bill

      Love this!

  • aaronsullivan

    I really liked Legacy up until I started to realize it wasn\’t going to conclude. It just didn\’t end in a satisfying way. So much time spent setting up Ed Norton, but the last thing that happens in that story is more establishing that they are powerful, THEN we are supposed to see how that plays out with our hero, but we don\’t… except sequel maybe. Otherwise I thought it was pretty awesome.

    The most compelling story I can think of is to combine these, but there’s seems to be a stubborn pride thing going with Greengrass and Damon that they don’t want to acknowledge Gilroy. Some bad blood there maybe. Anyway, Bourne wanting to live a normal life and try to get people out of the program and Cross valuing his new life but on the run sounds like a perfect conflict to me.

  • Harry

    At least he didn’t get M. Night Shamalamadingdong to take a crack at the script. Plot twist: Jeremy Renner IS Matt Damon.

  • nelson

    Kiefer Sutherland and Howard Gordon should ask Jonathan Nolan to a crack at the 24 movie. They both got nothing to lose at this point and maybe FOX will be more receptive knowing that he’s writing the script.

  • Brendon

    The Bourne Trilogy was exceptional to say the least and while I believe you should leave it alone and don’t risk spoiling it for the sake of making sequels and milking it, a big part of me would love to see Matt Damon make one more for the road. The next book in line is the BOURNE BETRAYAL and I think it’s a fitting title. Somehow Jeremy Renner’s character should find the walls closing in on him (with Edward Norton and co. trying to clean up house) to the point where he needs help to escape. With Rachel Weisz character being killed early, Jeremy (with his back against the wall) should do “something” to force Matt Damon’s Bourne out of hiding so that the duo can finally put an end to the nonsense once and for all with the CIA’s “programme”.

    The trick is to find a way for Bourne to return without it being cheesy and lame! I’m no screenwriter, so I’ll leave it up to those guys to figure it out and bring us a decent Bourne movie before Matt Damon is too old and no longer fit for the role. The other issue is determining exactly how Bourne is “betrayed”. He cannot be betrayed by Renner because that would mean they’d have to square off and somebody is going to get killed. The betrayal is basically the CIA betraying these guys by killing the members of the programme when the spotlight was put on the CIA by Bourne’s actions in ULTIMATUM. Also, it can be a sort of betrayal with Renner’s character linking a chain of events to force Bourne out of hiding to come help him. Perhaps Bourne’s only “friend” Pamela Landy could either be murdered, kidnapped and tortured or gone missing….I don’t know. But when a man is under pressure, he’ll do what ever it takes to survive.

    If Universal is clever, they’ll try to film the BOURNE BETRAYAL and the BOURNE SANCTION back-to-back and release both of them in the same year like they did for Matrix 2 & 3 and Back to the Future 2 & 3. The Bourne Sanction will complete the 2nd trilogy and we can all applaud Matt Damon’s final exit from the franchise. The franchise needs to stop though – it cannot run as if it’s a 007. Mission: Impossible and Die Hard should and probably would die when the protagonists (Tom Cruise and Bruce Willis) are no longer eligible for the roles due to age.

  • Arnyx

    @Harry lol. . The plot twist thing is up for hilarious laugh man. . Fuck yeah

  • Matt Damon # 1 Fan

    we can only pray for Matt to return! :(

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