Now that it's been confirmed that Matt Damon won't be returning for the fourth Bourne movie, entitled The Bourne Legacy, we need to start looking forward to who will replace him as the hero of the popular action-adventure franchise.
Perhaps "replace" isn't the right word since Legacy writer/director Tony Gilroy has hammered home the point more than a few times that this isn't a reboot of the Bourne franchise and therefore the lead won't be replacing Damon as Jason Bourne. The new hero will simply be another character within the world Gilroy has helped create, with Bourne himself being "very much alive," and possibly returning later on down the road (rumor is that Damon might return for the next film).
So, with all that said, let the Bourne Legacy casting rumors begin!
We're hearing word that 127 Hours star, James Franco, is rumored for the lead role in the fourth Bourne film. "Rumor" is certainly the right term, as word comes from an article in the New York Post which states that Gilroy, "made a beeline for Franco, asking to be introduced to him," at a recent party following the New York premiere of 127 Hours.
That's not much to go on, but with it being confirmed recently that Damon won't reprise his role in Bourne 4, I don't think we can discount the possibility that the Gilroy might have been eager to meet Franco with Bourne 4 in mind, even if it was only to gauge the actor's suitability (and availability) for the role.
For a moment let's take it that this rumor is true and Franco is a real possibility to star in Bourne 4 - is he the right choice to pick up where Damon left off?
Well, he's definitely one of the rising stars in Hollywood right now and he'd certainly bring star power to Legacy, even if it wouldn't quite be at the level of Damon. Franco has proven his versatility as an actor, from romance (Eat Pray Love) to comedy (Pineapple Express), to heavy drama (Milk) and flat-out action (Spider-Man).
But even with that range - particularly his action work in the Spider-Man movies - I have to admit I'm having trouble picturing Franco as a Bourne-esque hero, trotting the globe doing all sorts of hand-to-hand combat with whoever gets in his way.
Now don't get me wrong, I love Franco as an actor and I'm not saying he isn't capable of handling that sort of action role, but at this point in time if Franco is indeed a possibility for the lead role in Bourne 4, I'd have to see more evidence that he is suited to the role. Perhaps his stint in the upcoming Rise of the Apes will help convince me and other skeptics that he's a good choice.
Remember take this RUMOR with a big grain of salt until we get some solid confirmation of whether or not Franco is attached to Bourne 4. But for the time being let's discuss the prospect: Would you like to see James Franco as the new lead in the Bourne franchise?
The Bourne Legacy is tentatively scheduled to begin production in Spring 2011, with an August, 2012 release date in mind. You can catch Franco's latest film, 127 Hours, in theaters today.