A couple of decades ago, the idea of Matt Damon as an action hero would have been laughable to many. In fact, when Damon – then primarily known for films like Good Will Hunting and Dogma – was cast as novelist Robert Ludlum’s super spy Jason Bourne back in 2001, speculation ran wild as to whether he had the physical presence and stunt skills to tackle the role. Tackle it he did, though, with the 2002 film The Bourne Identity – and its sequels, Supremacy and Ultimatum – earning both widespread critical acclaim and general audience appreciation.
Unfortunately for fans, Greengrass and Damon saw Ultimatum as a good place to cap the now Bourne trilogy, with both deciding not to return for a potential fourth film. Never one to let a popular franchise rest in the vault for too long, Universal hired Oscar-nominated Hurt Locker star Jeremy Renner to take over the Bourne franchise in a new role. And while The Bourne Legacy made money (mostly overseas), it failed to live up to the high quality standards of its predecessors, garnering mostly mixed reviews. Despite that, a sequel to Legacy is in production.
That brings us to a recent interview Matt Damon gave to cable news network CNBC. Damon’s outlook on Bourne seems to have changed in the last seven years, with the actor saying that he is “open” to reprising the Jason Bourne role in a future film.
Unsurprisingly, Damon is only willing to come back if his friend Greengrass also returns. In addition to the Bourne sequels, Damon collaborated with Greengrass on 2010 war thriller Green Zone.
According to Damon, the biggest stumbling block preventing his return to the Bourne franchise is a good script idea:
“We’ve just never been able to come up with a story. So, if any of your viewers have a story, please call Universal and submit it.”
That said, Damon still holds much affection for the character, and would love to know his current whereabouts:
“It felt like such a good way to end it the last time, but having said that I love that character…and I’d love to see what happened to him. Because technically, the movie that came out in 2007 dovetailed with the one that came out in 2004, so technically the last time Jason Bourne was seen was 2004.”
It also turns out that Damon was just as wary of his ability to carry an action film as the general public:
“I had just as many concerns as anybody about doing an action move. In fact, I never signed up for three ‘Bourne’ movies. I signed up for one because I didn’t even know if I’d like to make an action movie…but it turned out that I loved it.”
Whether Damon and Greengrass ever do make a triumphant return to the Bourne series, they (and original director Doug Liman) have nothing to be ashamed of. Identity, Supremacy, and Ultimatum are widely regarded as one of the rare trilogies without a bad film, and that’s a great legacy to have.
Still, if they do come back, Bourne fans will no doubt embrace Jason Bourne with open arms, welcoming America’s foremost super spy back like an old friend. An old friend that just happens to be able to kill a man with his bare hands.
Do you want to see Matt Damon return as Bourne, possibly to team up with Jeremy Renner’s Aaron Cross character? Let us know in the comments.
The currently untitled fifth Bourne film (starring Jeremy Renner) is expected to hit theaters on August 14, 2015.