A couple days ago, we reported that Universal has pushed back the fifth Bourne movie from August 14, 2015 to July 15, 2016. The assumption was that A) summer 2015 is crowded as hell (it is); and B) the August date would be a better fit for the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton. However, there may have been an ulterior motive to Universal kicking Bourne 5: CHEMS CHEMS CHEMS (unofficial title) to 2016.
The reason? To bring back Matt Damon. [Update: Maybe, maybe not. Producer Frank Marshall has weighed in on the rumor.] Hit the jump for more.
As you may know, every time Damon is asked about whether or not he’ll return to the franchise, he says he would, but only if The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass was also on board. Greengrass’ approach already made Universal twitchy (he likes to shoot a lot and then find the film in the editing room), and then the director and the studio had a big falling out when Green Zone flopped. So no Greengrass meant no Damon, which meant having to reboot the franchise with Jeremy Renner as the star.
However, Latino Review is now reporting that the reason for the release date change is because Damon is returning to play Jason Bourne even though Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 6) is on board to direct. It’s possible that Damon likes the story they’re willing to tell (you’ll note that Andrew Baldwin had come on board to write a new draft of the script about a month ago), and I’m also slightly inclined to believe LR’s source that says Damon is looking for a hit after his recent string of box office misfires.
[Update: Heat Vision caught up with producer Marshall, who confirmed that Renner would be returning as Aaron Cross, and had the following to say about the rumor that the reason for the delay was Damon’s return:
“It’s simply not true. [Director] Justin Lin is working with Andrew Baldwin on an Aaron Cross script/story that they pitched us a few months ago. I talk to Justin all the time and the script is not ready. It’s a summer movie, and if we don’t start pre-production now, we can’t make next summer. Therefore, it’s a wise decision to move to 2016.”
Now, technically Marshall denied that the release date change was to accommodate Damon’s involvement, so it should be noted that he did not deny Damon’s possible appearance in the film. Semantics, I know. Could be spin, could just be a messy knot of rumors. Time will tell.]
Personally, I’d like to see Damon/Greengrass team-up again, but as long as the script is solid, then that’s what matters most. I certainly don’t have a problem with Damon and Renner teaming up to lead a film, and even though The Bourne Legacy didn’t blow me away, Renner did a good job establishing a character who wasn’t just a carbon-copy of Bourne. It could be interesting to see how the two secret agents bounce off each other and in what context.
But please: no more chems.