How do you make a Jason Bourne film without Matt Damon? There are a couple of options: you can remake the first film, or you can spin-off in a new direction. What’s most frustrating about The Bourne Legacy is that it takes a third option, which is to pretend that Damon is actually a character in this world, but he’s just not on screen. Perhaps Universal was stuck between a rock and a hard place. They couldn’t kill Damon off-camera, and they probably hope he’ll come back for more, so instead they brought in Jeremy Renner for a story that runs in parallel to the end of The Bourne Ultimatum, but doesn’t do anything to move the franchise forward. It is also pretty bad. Our review of the Blu-ray of The Bourne Legacy follows after the jump.
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.
Director Paul Greengrass created what it meant to be a “Bourne” movie with The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. If the James Bond movies are girls, gadgets, cars, and supervillains, then Bourne was going to be about intense action scenes, desperate chases, paranoia, and political commentary. Sadly, Greengrass did not return to the Bourne franchise, and co-writer and director Tony Gilroy has set the series back with the flabby and forgettable The Bourne Legacy. Gilroy attempts to write his own set of rules by playing against a traditional three-act structure, which is fine in theory, but in practice it creates a film that’s constantly losing momentum, and never sure where to focus its energy. The movie’s saving grace is Jeremy Renner, who gets to be in the mold of Jason Bourne but find new strengths and weaknesses that set him apart from the eponymous spy. Sadly, the rest of The Bourne Legacy never follows Renner’s lead to find a fresh direction while still retaining what worked about the past two movies.
Yesteday, Universal released the first clip from The Bourne Legacy, and they’ve released another one today. For those unfamiliar with the franchise reboot, this time around, a government task force led by Edward Norton‘s character is assassinating all their genetically-modified assets to prevent another Bourne situation. However, one member of the program, Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), manages to escape with a scientist (Rachel Weisz), and the two go on the run for their lives. The previous clip showed the two running away, and this clip shows them motorcycling away. Writer-director Tony Gilroy looks like he’s done a good job of carrying over previous director Paul Greengrass‘ handheld kinetic style while still retaining the clarity of the set pieces. The stunts look like they’ll be a lot of fun, but now I want to see how the great cast performs outside of chase scenes.
Hit the jump to check out the clip. The film also stars Oscar Isaac, Joan Allen, David Strathairn, Albert Finney, Stacy Keach, Scott Glenn, Corey Stoll, and Donna Murphy. The Bourne Legacy opens August 10th.
Even though it’s less than a month away, I keep forgetting The Bourne Legacy exists. It’s not because I’m uninterested in the film. It’s just positioned near the end of the summer, and has been overshadowed by some movie involving a crime fighter dressed as a rodent. But with The Dark Knight Rises finally set to open on Friday, Universal is now beginning to remind audiences that there’s a new Jason Bourne aka “Aaron Cross” (Jeremy Renner) on the block. The studio has released the first clip from the film, and it features a lot of running and screaming before finishing up with an awesome take down of a couple hapless cops.
Hit the jump to check out the clip. The film also stars Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Oscar Isaac, Joan Allen, David Strathairn, Albert Finney, Stacy Keach, Scott Glenn, Corey Stoll and Donna Murphy. The Bourne Legacy opens August 10th.
Universal is reportedly in negotiations with writer-director Tony Gilroy (Duplicity) to helm the fourth Bourne film, tentatively titled The Bourne Legacy. Gilroy recently turned in the script that he was hired to write back in June. Paul Greengrass chose not to return to the series back in December 2009 and franchise star Matt Damon has indicated that he’ll only return if Greengrass comes back. Deadline reports that Universal will make the film whether Damon returns or not, which makes it sounds like the script has Jason Bourne as the star again rather than a relaunch with a new character.
Since they can’t get Greengrass back, getting Gilroy as a replacement is a solid choice since he’s written all of the Bourne movies and has shown himself as a capable director with Duplicity and Michael Clayton. The Bourne Legacy was previously slated for a 2012 release but Deadline says that Universal hasn’t locked in a firm timetable just yet.
Originally set to shoot this summer, Steven Sodebergh’s Liberace biopic starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon has been pushed back to summer 2011. Filming was delayed when Soderbergh decided to go forward with the world-spanning thriller Contagion instead (which will also star Damon as well as Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law and Marion Cotillard). Now, according to the Las Vegas Sun [via The Playlist], filming has been slightly delayed, but Damon says he’s still on board to play Liberace’s lover Scott Thorson and Douglas is still set to play Liberace.
But if flamboyant 60s entertainers aren’t really your thing, how would you like to have your emotions toyed with by having Damon not completely rule out a return to playing Jason Bourne? Hit the jump for more.
Universal has hired Bourne trilogy screenwriter Tony Gilroy to pen a treatment for the fourth installment in the franchise. Tentatively titled The Bourne Legacy, the film will be based on book written by Eric Lustabader in Ludlum’s series. Gilroy wrote the screenplay for all the previous Bourne movies. Deadline reports that Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley will return to produce and that the picture is set for a 2012 release date.
The big question is whether Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass will return. The answer to that question is probably “No.” Damon has said that he’ll only return if Greengrass directs and Greengrass has made it clear that he has no intention of doing so. Deadline speculates that Gilroy’s involvement (plus a potentially-ridiculous payday) could lure Damon back. I’m leaning towards what Damon speculated could happen: that a new actor would take on the Bourne identity (no pun intended) so it would be like the James Bond films except the series would acknowledge a new actor in the role. And not to read too much into it, but the title “The Bourne Legacy” would indicate that Bourne has bequeathed something to another person.
You can’t keep a good spy down, but you can dig deeper into his past. In a red carpet interview with Matt Damon, Empire learned that the next Bourne film is looking like it will be a prequel. Says Damon:
“There’ll probably be a prequel of some kind with another actor and another director before we do another one,” he said, “just because I think we’re probably another five years away from doing it – we’ve got to get a script…”
This sounds like more of a stopgap than a real Bourne movie. Maybe it’s because I’m too attached to the Damon/Greengrass mix but I’m not sure what a prequel has to offer. The whole point of the Bourne trilogy is Jason Bourne’s attempt to discover his past. By the end of The Bourne Ultimatum, we know what happened to him and so any new ground would probably just be a random mission featuring the character. On the bright side, we could see his training process and how he learned to kill someone with a rolled up magazine.
Steve is currently at the press junket for Clint Eastwood’s Invictus and while there he was able to get updates from Matt Damon on Steven Soderbergh’s biopic Liberace, the Coen Brothers adaptation of True Grit, and most importantly, what’s happening with Bourne 4 now that director Paul Greengrass has left the project. Damon provided brief updates on all of these in less than a minute. It was impressive.
According to Damon, they’re still waiting on a script for Bourne 4 but that he’s planning to wait for Greengrass and when Greengrass wants to do it, they’ll do it. He also says that he won’t make a fourth Bourne without Greengrass but he’s optimistic that the director will return at some point down the road. As for Liberace, they’re planning on shooting it in the summer, and he confirmed he’s playing the role of La Beouf in True Grit which he’ll be shooting in March. Hit the jump to read the transcript.
The Playlist (who have become heavy hitters with exclusives) is reporting that director Paul Greengrass, the critically acclaimed helmer of The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, United 93, and the upcoming Iraq War-thriller Green Zone, will not be coming back for a fourth Jason Bourne adventure. The break apparently comes from two factors: Greengrass is upset at Universal because they didn’t consult him on who they hired to write the Bourne 4; likewise, Universal is upset at Greengrass because he’s turned Green Zone, which was supposed to be a small film to keep Greengrass happy in between Bourne flicks, into a $150 million Iraq War movie (which have never been a hit at the box office).
Obviously, after three films together, Matt Damon’s loyalty lies with Greengrass and wouldn’t even consider doing a 4th Bourne, “at least not without [Greengrass'] blessing and even then, it would have to be a spectacular script.” Of course, the grand irony in this is that it seems like every other week we’re reporting on some new movie going into development that’s supposed to be Bourne-like yet the actual Bourne franchise will miss its intended Fall 2010 start date unless somehow everyone kisses and makes-up (unlikely, but possible) and they manage to get a good script (always possible). Personally, I think Green Zone already looks like an unofficial fourth Bourne movie and I think Ultimatum was a great finisher to the series. We’ll keep you updated but whatever Greengrass decides to do next, I’ll be anxious to see it.