Greengrass & Damon's Final Word on Bourne - They're Done!
Well, it's over with those two at least, but a prequel may still get made. If you've been reading this site over the last six months or so, a lot has happened with the Bourne franchise. Last we heard at the beginning of February, director Paul Greengrass was still gone, and so was Matt Damon without him, but Universal was considering making a prequel before convincing these two to return. But now it sounds like there is no return and its only a prequel. Greengrass and Damon talked with press this weekend (via ComingSoon) for Green Zone and gave their final word on the Bourne franchise. And it doesn't sound too good. Read on!
First is Paul Greengrass, who explains what went through his mind while initially working on Bourne 4.
"Listen, I just love the Bourne franchise, number one, and I owe it a great deal, and I gave my all on the two films that I made," he began, "But when I was honest with myself last Autumn, and I was starting to get going on other things, you just come to a point where you realize you've done it. You don't have anything more to contribute to a franchise that needs to continue obviously, and in order to continue, a franchise needs to be rebooted and reenergized by new perspectives. I just felt that I'd done it, and there's nothing unnatural about that."
"In the end, contrary to reports, there was never an argument with the studio of any kind at all. I did spend some time thinking that I might (do it) and getting myself to a place of 'what would it be?' and it's only when you do that where you find, 'You know what? I'm gone. I'm onto other things.' I explained (it) to them. We had a very nice discussion--they were completely understanding--and I said 'We'll make some other movies.' They said 'Excellent.'"
So it sounds like Universal wanted Paul Greengrass to do this sequel or there wouldn't be a sequel. I don't know why they wouldn't line-up some backup directors just incase, but apparently once Greengrass was out, this meant the death of the sequel, and the birth of the prequel, for better or worse. They also talked with Matt Damon, who gave them this fascinating tidbit:
"I think they have a good way to do a prequel with someone else, and basically make it about the Bourne identity, the actual identity…. He's resolved his issues now. He's got his memory back three times now. I don't think anybody wants to see me say 'I don't remember' again, but I think what we could do is that you can do some movies with another actor, anyone, whether it's Ryan Gosling or Russell Crowe or Denzel Washington, and he's Jason Bourne, and at the end of his one or two or three movies, you see them getting ready to pass the identity onto me, so it just becomes like 007, it becomes the name that they give this certain person who is uniquely positioned. So then if Paul and I come back and do a fourth one in ten years, we'll pass it onto someone else and then the thing can kind of go on."
Now that's an interesting idea and certainly one I can get behind. However, I don't think Universal is smart enough to follow through with something like that. In fact, they're the ones who screwed it up and got it to where it was right now, so why should I believe that they could get things back on the right track? The only people I have faith in are producer Frank Marshall and Greengrass/Damon - who are now gone. The sad thing is that this is something we should've written in late 2007 after The Bourne Ultimatum first came out. They wasted so much time and money trying to work on another sequel when we were all satisfied with the way Bourne Ultimatum ended. Now, three years later, we're finally confirming that another won't happen.
We'll let you know if anything happens regarding this prequel over at Universal, but for now it sounds like the Bourne franchise is going quiet. I like Damon's idea for making this like James Bond, but we'll have to see if that actually happens. Stay tuned! Are you happy or sad to see this franchise end like this?