May 13, 2014

Tradecraft: Bourne and Mission: Impossible Sequels Get New Writers

Two major spy franchises (both of which starred Jeremy Renner in their most recent entries) hired new writers in the last week. The Hollywood Reporter reports (in separate stories) that Justin Lin's Bourne Legacy sequel and Christopher McQuarrie's Mission: Impossible 5 have each gained new scribes. Andrew Baldwin, who wrote the forthcoming Idris Elba neo-Eurospy movie Bastille Day, has been brought on to rewrite Anthony Peckham's draft of the sequel to the Jeremy Renner spinoff of the Matt Damon trilogy. (Yup, it's a sequel to a spinoff, at least two degrees removed from the terrific Robert Ludlum source material, but presumably it will still have the name "Bourne" in the title... which is just kind of awkward at this point. They should just go ahead and call it what it is: The Bourne Continuation.) It was previously reported that Justin Lin, the man who revitalized the Fast & Furious franchise, would helm the movie. Hopefully he, Baldwin and Peckham will manage to improve on Tony Gilroy's lackluster Bourne Legacy.

Meanwhile, Will Staples has been tapped to do a pass on Mission: Impossible 5, on which Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3) had previously done a draft. According to the trade, Staples' background is mostly in scripting videogames, but he's also got several film scripts in development, including King of Heists, to which Jeremy Renner is attached to star. (Does the Renner connection indicate that the actor will reprise his William Brandt role from Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol? That's probably reading too deeply into Staples' hiring, but I'd certainly like to see Brandt return.) McQuarrie signed on to direct the fifth entry in the long-running Tom Cruise film series last year. He, Pearce and Staples have their work cut out for them if they hope to top Ghost Protocol, which was by far my favorite Mission: Impossible movie to date. Here's a hint, Will: do what Brad Bird did and look to the TV show for inspiration! Mission: Impossible 5 is set to open on Christmas Day next year.

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