The last we heard from either of the key players in doing another Bourne movie – that is, Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass – Damon let an idea slip on the red carpet that the next Bourne would be a prequel without him starring.
However, shortly thereafter the studio shot down that as pure speculation on Damon’s part and it said the next Bourne would NOT be a prequel (although they’re open to the idea if several of the different stories being looked at don’t work out).
But these things never end up as simple open and shut cases; Both Damon and Greengrass recently talked about Bourne 4 and opened up the can of worms labeled “prequel” once more. On top of that, they both seemingly shut the door on either of them working on another Bourne movie.
First up, Greengrass set the record as straight as it possibly can be at this point by explaining what his status is with Bourne 4. The last we heard he wasn’t coming back for another (after initial speculation it was over a disagreement with Universal, Greengrass later came out and said it was a peaceful departure) and that appears to still be case. Here’s the quote Coming Soon got from him:
“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… 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.
To make a film, it’s 19 months of your life seven days a week, 20 hours a day, you’ve got to have real… and there were just too many other things that I was interested in. I felt like I’d had a wonderful, wonderful time, I loved it and I want it to continue. 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 [Universal] said ‘Excellent.'”
Sounds like his mind hasn’t changed all that much – no last minute change because Universal pressured him or offered him a ton of money to lend his directing talents once more. And I have to say, as much as I would like Greengrass to direct another (that’s if we HAVE to have another), I respect him for wanting to go his own way. He’s contributed two movies to the franchise – most say the best two movies – and that’s plenty.
As for Damon, he has previously said he won’t do another Bourne if Greengrass isn’t involved and when asked straight out about that question recently, he flat-out said “no.” So since Greengrass said above he’s not doing another and Damon says he won’t do another without Greengrass, then I guess that’s the last nail in the coffin as far as their involvement goes. Here’s what Collider quoted from Damon about the situation and the possibility of the next Bourne being a prequel:
“Well, I think that they have a good way to do a prequel with someone else, and basically make it about the Bourne identity, the actual identity. What any studio is interested in is making it like an evergreen, so it can just go on, and on, and on, and it never will with our character because he’s going to resolve himself and he’s resolved his issues now. He’s got his memory back three times. I don’t think anybody wants to see me say, “I don’t remember” again.
But I think what we could do, is like, you know, so you can do some movies with another actor, anyway, whether it’s Ryan Gosling or Russell Crowe or Denzel Washington, and he’s Jason Bourne. And then at the end of his one movie, or two movies, or three movies, you see them getting ready to pass the identity on to me, so it just becomes like a 007, it becomes a name that they give this certain person who’s uniquely positioned. Right? And so then, if Paul and I come back and do a fourth one in 10 years, right, we’ll pass it on to someone else, and then it can kind of go on. But I think the only way to make it go away from us is to say no.”
So Damon is keeping the door slightly ajar for maybe a decade down the road when he and Greengrass could perhaps come back and pick up the Bourne torch again. But honestly, I just think that’s Damon being smart not to completely shoot down the possibility of him playing Bourne again (if nothing else for the sake of the studio). And to be honest, wouldn’t Damon be a bit too old to do all that rooftop running and apartment fighting that far in the future (he’ll be 50 in 10 years)?
Although having said that, Liam Neeson didn’t have much trouble with it in Taken last year…
If you want to read the full batch of quotes about Bourne 4 and Damon and Greengrass’ other projects – including word from Damon on the Coen bros. True Grit and the recently talked about Robert F. Kennedy biopic – then you can head over to Coming Soon and Collider.
I’ve said it before but as much as it would be cool to see Damon back as Bourne and Greengrass behind the camera directing a fourth movie, I would rather they just left it at three. And with Greengrass and Damon seemingly out of the picture I definitely don’t want to see another with a different actor and a different director (the idea of learning about Bourne before he lost his memory is admittedly interesting but the different actor thing just doesn’t sit right with me).
They ended The Bourne Ultimatum in such a perfect way, simultaneously leaving it open ended and wrapping up the story as best as it possibly could have been. Making a prequel or having anymore with another actor trying to fill Damon’s shoes seems like a mistake to me (although obviously financially it’s smart on the studio’s part).
What do you think of both Damon and Greengrass apparently not coming back for Bourne 4? Would you be mad if they did a prequel or a sequel to Ultimatum with a different actor playing Bourne? Sound off in the comments below.