Jun 10, 2010

Tradecraft: Tony Gilroy's Bourne Again

Deadline Hollywood and Variety are both reporting that Tony Gilroy, who worked on the scripts for all three Bourne movies before going on to critical but not commercial success directing Michael Clayton and Duplicity, is now back in the Bourne fold.  Following drafts by Bourne Ultimatum co-writer George Nolfi and uncredited Quantum of Solace contributor Josh Zetumer, Universal has now turned to the man they rightfully recognize as the cinematic Bourne mastermind to pen a fourth film in the franchise.  (Presumably he was unavailable earlier.)  Following the pattern with Robert Ludlum's second and third novels, they are currently using the title of Eric van Lustbader's continuation novel The Bourne Legacy (which is a good title!) but not the story.  Gilroy is also working on a "Bourne bible" for the studio, presumably a guide to the universe for future writers and directors.  Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass are not attached right now.  We all know how much Damon likes talking about not returning to the series, but then again Sean Connery said the same thing after You Only Live Twice. Perhaps Damon should follow Connery's example and never say never.  Greengrass has also declared his intention not to return (and his involvement is critical to Damon's), but since then he's left the project he was going to helm, a remake of Fantastic Voyage, so he does seem to be available again.  A commentor at Deadline Hollywood makes a provocative reference to a feud between Greengrass and Gilroy, but I have no knowldege to substantiate or deny his claim.  Personally, I remain hopeful that at least Damon and possibly Greengrass too will return to the series.  For now, though, I'm glad that Gilroy is on board.  Universal is being aggressive and targeting a 2012 release.

UPDATE: Read Jeremy's comment below for some fascinating further information!


Jeremy said...

Very interesting! Eric Van Lustbader has just revealed on his Facebook page that he has written a treatment:

'It's finally happened!!! The title (tentative, it's true) for the fourth Jason Bourne film is mine: "The Bourne Legacy." After working on a treatment myself, Tony Gilroy, perhaps the best screenwriter currently and writer of the first three Bourne films, is taking over. Let's get it on!'

In response to a comment asking about Damon, he gave a very intriguing reply:

'Matt has said no to coming back, but my personal feeling is that if the script is strong enough he just might change his mind. If he doesn't, however, we have someone great lined up.'

Tanner said...

Thanks, Jeremy. Fascinating! It's interesting that he very specifically says that the TITLE is his, and not the story. That seems to coroborate the trade story--and fit with the past practice of jetisoning the books' plots completely. That's definitely a new piece of information that Lustbader worked on a treatment! I wonder if he'll end up with any story credit?

Also intriguing what he says about an actor. "Lined up?" What does he mean by that? Signed on, like John Gavin was for Diamonds Are Forever before Connery was lured back? (We probably would have heard about it if that were the case.) Or merely waiting in the wings, expressing tentative interest? I just hope it's not that ubiquitous 3D Worthington guy...

If they do cast a new guy, I really hope they keep it simple and don't try to write the new face into the story as plastic surgery or--worse--a whole new character assigned the Bourne "code name," as Damon recently suggested.