George Clooney is co-writing, directing and starring in an adaptation of Robert M. Edsel's non-fiction WWII book The Monuments Men, which reunites the Oscar-nominated Hollywood power-player/humanitarian with a number of old friends and familiar faces - including Matt Damon, who is in talks to reunite with Clooney after appearing alongside him in the Ocean's Eleven trilogy and Syriana.
Damon is also working the press circuit for Good Will Hunting and Milk director Gus Van Sant's upcoming Oscar-bait release Promised Land, which he co-wrote (and co-headlines) with The Office's John Krasinski. Naturally, journalists are once again hounding Damon for details about his possible return in Bourne 5; however, he's yet to waver from his previous non-committal stance.
Edsel's historical source material chronicles the efforts of the "Monuments Men": a group of American and British art historians/museum curators who rally to recover art stolen by the Third Reich before it is destroyed - as members of Hitler's regime rush to cover their tracks during the final days of WWII. Deadline says Damon's up to join the supporting cast for Clooney's adaptation, which includes Daniel Craig (Skyfall), Bill Murray (Hyde Park on Hudson) and Cate Blanchett (The Hobbit).
Clooney's film could focus more on the theme of international cooperation than Ben Affleck's current Oscar-contender Argo does, but unfold as a similar white-knuckle historical thriller driven by extraordinary circumstances. Affleck (the director) has an edge on Clooney (the filmmaker) in this area, as the latter tends to get by more on the strengths of his cast and script (see: The Ides of March) - rather than his skills behind the camera (in this writer's opinion, anyway). However, Monuments Men has a pretty terrific acting ensemble - and the script Clooney co-penned with Grant Heslov should be solid - so that bodes well.
As for Damon and Bourne 5: last time the actor spoke about the project, he'd not yet seen Bourne Legacy and was expressing doubt based on what he'd heard about the (sorta) Bourne franchise spinoff's storyline. However, in a new interview with The Playlist, Damon says that he's since checked out the Jeremy Renner-led Legacy - and admits that it confirmed most of his previous reservations about a team-up with 'Hawkeye' in the next Bourne installment.
Here is what Damon said:
"I think it's going to make it harder for us to make another one. I'm just trying to figure out like… Because [in 'Bourne Legacy'] they used our characters, anything that happens in that world, that's the 'Bourne' world now. So the pill popping and all that stuff happens."
Damon has made it no secret that he thinks Jason Bourne's story was properly concluded in Bourne Ultimatum, and has been skeptical about the proposition of his return since then (especially after spending a good chunk of time brain-storming a fourth installment with director Paul Greengrass).
On that subject, he reiterated:
"I don't know what that story would be. I love Jeremy and I'm a huge fan of him and I know him personally and love him outside of work, too. But I just don't know what that story would be. I could never see Bourne teaming up with anyone. And all he said was – he wanted out, he wanted out, he wanted out. So how do you get that character going again?"
We can still get behind the idea of Damon and Renner working together in Bourne 5, but the story would have to be all the more compelling following Bourne Legacy (which felt like an extraneous and unnecessary addition to the series). Of course, money talks in Tinseltown and Universal is on record as planning more Bourne sequels - so Damon better prepare to be harassed about this issue even more in the future...
Screen Rant will keep you up-to-date on development for both The Monuments Men and Bourne 5.