The fourth installment in the successful Bourne franchise has been in the works for a good while now, always edging ever-closer to actually happening, with every announcement that “the story is being worked on” and that they’re trying to “get it right.” We reported a few weeks ago that the next Bourne movie may be coming later rather than sooner, and last week star Matt Damon told Entertainment Weekly, “[We] have a story and we don’t have script.”

That doesn’t sound too promising…

However, it seems that things have picked up a bit on the Bourne 4 front as Universal has signed writer Josh Zetumer to pen what is being described as a, “parallel script.”

Zetumer hasn’t written any completed film so far, but has written the scripts for Villain (currently in production), Peter Berg’s Dune remake and The Infiltrator, a Warner Bros. project which has Leonardo DiCaprio attached to star.

George Nolfi was originally tapped to write Bourne 4, and was supposed to have produced a draft a couple of months ago. However Nolfi is currently writing and directing The Adjustment Bureau (also starring Damon, FYI), which starts production next month, so he had to step away from Bourne 4. It is hoped that once Nolfi’s finished with Bureau, he will make a return to Bourne, but still unclear whether Zetumer and Nolfi’s scripts will be integrated if Nolfi returns, or whether Universal just wants two different scripts to hold side-by-side in order to choose which direction they want to go in (it could be either one, really).

THR notes that although it’s rare, it’s not unheard of that two scripts will be written parallel to one another. It particularly happens with tentpole movies (I think Bourne could just about fit into that category), with notable examples being Wolverine, Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer, Star Trek: Generations and the upcoming Conan remake.

I think it’s good that Universal isn’t waiting around for Nolfi while he does another project before they get started with Bourne 4. But they also seem to want to take their time with the sequel, a excuse reason for the delay(s) which they’ve given on a number of occasions. The new writer they’ve brought on board can’t really be judged at this point in time, since none of what he’s written/is attached to write has actually been made yet. However, it’s certainly impressive for a newcomer to be attached to four sizeable projects.

I’m just wondering why they didn’t get Tony Gilroy – writer of the first three Bourne movies – to come back for this one. It seemed to work out pretty well for all involved…including the audience.

What do you think of the them getting a new writer for the next Bourne movie?

Bourne 4 is (clearly) still in the development stages, but has a hoped release of sometime in the summer of 2011.

Sources: EW, THR (via /Film) and ThePlaylist