Matt Damon Open to Returning to 'Bourne' Franchise, But Here's Why He Never Will
Action fans the world over were atwitter Monday when, in an interview with CNBC, Matt Damon revealed he's interested in returning to the Bourne franchise. And why wouldn't we be happy about this? Bourne is the character that helped launch Damon to super, superstardom. It's one of the best action trilogies of our modern time. And the latest, Bourne-less entry was sadly mediocre. Anyone who doesn't want to see Damon jump back into Jason's memory-challenged shoes is just plain crazy.
But let's not get too excited. Here's what the star actually said:
I've always been open to it if Paul Greengrass is the director. We've just never been able to come up with a story... It felt like such a good way to end it last time. Having said that, I love the character. I'd love to see what happened to him.
Hmm. Sounds like Greengrass is the lynchpin here, which causes some anxiety. No Greengrass, no Damon. Damn! Here are the reasons we're not holding our breath for their Bourne reunion.
1. There's already another sequel in the works.
You may not know this, but there's already a fifth Bourne film in pre-production, set for release on Aug. 14, 2015. This is somewhat surprising, considering that the fourth film, The Bourne Legacy (which starred Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross with nary a Matt Damon in sight) was received lukewarmly by critics and audiences alike. The film garnered a paltry 55 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and it grossed a so-so $113 million — exactly half that of the $227 million that Damon's last Bourne film, Ultimatum, raked in.
The fifth film, still officially untitled but rumored to be called The Bourne Betrayal, will again star Renner as Cross, and Justin Lin will be taking over directing duties from Tony Gilroy. Lin is most famous for directing fellow action franchise entries Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6, as well as several episodes of NBC's hilarious Community. Since Damon has publicly said he will only return to Bourne if Paul Greengrass is directing, we know he won't be appearing in Betrayal. And since there will have been a three-year gap between Legacy and Betrayal, the soonest we can count on a sixth Bourne film is in 2018.
2. Paul Greengrass is a busy man.
Another roadblock for Damon's return: even by 2018, his director of choice, Paul Greengrass, will probably be too busy to return to the Bourne franchise. He became an Oscar nominee this past year for his historical thriller Captain Phillips, which means his talents are now in high demand. He's currently working on an adaptation of Robert Harris' novel The Fear Index , a political thriller about a fictional Geneva hedge fund connected to the United States stock market crash of 2010. (This will continue the director's love affair with topical political issues, following Phillips and the acclaimed United 93.)
After that, he has stated interest in directing a documentary about the popular soccer team FC Barcelona, entitled Barça. And it was recently announced that Greengrass is in final talks to direct Aaron Sorkin's highly anticipated script about the Chicago Seven.
Oscar nominees are often rewarded with their personal pick of prestigious projects. It seems unlikely that, in the face of all these opportunities, Greengrass would decide to return to an action franchise he last visited seven years ago. And until he does, Damon will be steering clear as well.
3. Matt Damon kinda dissed the franchise.
Consistent director/actor collaborations can be exciting — just ask Scorsese and DiCaprio. So while it's easy to get pumped about Damon wanting to re-team with Supremacy and Ultimatum director Greengrass, it's important to notice that this is also kind of an underhanded insult to someone very crucial to the franchise: Tony Gilroy. The writer/director (of the Oscar-nominated Michael Clayton) has written all four Bourne movies thus far, and pulled double duty as director for Legacy.
The fact that Damon has stated insistently on more than one occasion that he would only return to the franchise if Greengrass is directing is sort of a diss against Gilroy — apparently, like most of us, he wasn't exactly thrilled with Legacy.
Hopefully Damon hasn't burned all his bridges with the Bourne franchise, though, because he would love to see him back at some point.
Images: Universal Pictures (2)