Tony Gilroy Explains How Bourne 4 Was Created Without Bourne
10.21.10 by Ryan
The fourth Bourne installment took a seeming step backward when it was announced that writer-director Tony Gilroy's (Michael Clayton) script wouldn't include the character of Jason Bourne (Matt Damon). Gilroy, who helped write all three of the previous Bourne movies, was tasked by Universal with writing Bourne 4 in June. Then, when The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass decided he wouldn't return for a fourth, the studio hired Gilroy to direct.
But why no Bourne in Bourne 4? For one, once Greengrass bowed out, Damon countered, saying he "wouldn't do [another Bourne] with anyone" other than Greengrass. This left Gilroy the opportunity to expand the Bourne mythology, though Gilroy admitted to Deadline that when he met with the estate for Bourne author Robert Ludlum back in the spring, he told them he had no ideas for a fourth Bourne.
I told them, "I don't have anything for you." I'd never seen the third movie, but went home and watched it. Awhile later, I had a slender idea, at least a way to attack the problem. We made a deal that was basically, "If you want to put me on for a couple of weeks to figure this out and go exploring in the hills, I can't tell you what I'll find but I'll tell you where I'll dig." And then I hit a vein, and ended up delivering way more than I thought. I came up with the whole thing and if it wasn't a swinging idea, I wouldn't have signed on to direct. It feels good, fresh, but quite honestly, a Bourne kind of movie. I brought in my brother Dan, we started off together as a team.
The Gilroy brothers have concocted a story for the fourth Bourne, titled Bourne Legacy, that would introduce a new agent protagonist that has experienced the same training as Bourne, much like Clive Owen's character from The Bourne Identity. Still, Gilroy hasn't completely shut the door on Damon's return, should the actor change his mind, and even admitted that he too is feeling the loss.
Matt was completely not an option, and personally I couldn't imagine trying to replace him. All the conspiratorial politics aside, these are very un-cynical, honest movies, and I don't know another actor who brings more integrity and dignity, and a lack of cynicism to his work than Matt. I'm not going to get into the plot, but you saw the other three films, you know everything that happened, and it's not a dream sequence. What I can say is, you thought that was the whole world, but it was a small piece of what was going on. Ultimatum exploded at the end with people arrested. We deal with that as a reality, it has ramifications that echo out into the larger world. And of course, Jason Bourne is still alive and out there in the world. I don't want to go beyond that, because the last thing I need is for every blogger to be second guessing.
Well, we won't, but you can second guess in the comments below.