How the Bourne Franchise Was Reborn
Warner Bros. Fighting Lawsuit Over Universal's 'Bourne Identity' (Exclusive)
It's a difficult task to create a sequel worthy of a critically beloved first film; to make a third film in a series that also measures up is a major studio's Holy Grail. That's a prize Frank Marshall, who produced the Indiana Jones films, knows well, and a task he helped pull off with 2007's The Bourne Ultimatum -- which earned the strongest reviews of all.
Stretching the feat to a successful fourth film proved a bit more difficult.
By now, the story is well-known: Star Matt Damon, unhappy that screenwriter Tony Gilroy had gone off to write and direct Michael Clayton after turning in his script for the third Bourne, The Bourne Ultimatum, said in an interview with GQ that that script was "unreadable," a charge the studio disputed. In 2009, when Paul Greengrass, who helmed the second and third installments, decided not to return for a fourth, Damon told the studio he didn't want to return either without the director. In need of a creative solution, Marshall and his co-producer Pat Crowley turned to Gilroy, who has written and directed the fourth Bourne, The Bourne Legacy, which opens Aug. 10 and stars Jeremy Renner as another operative in the brain-controlling secret agent program, but with a twist: Unlike Bourne, he has no amnesia, or questionable morals.
The film takes place during the events of the second and third Bourne films, and while those events are the catalyst for this story, it's an adventure all its own, with a brand-new and compelling protagonist in Renner's Aaron Cross. After starring in The Avengers and Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol, the man knows how to handle weapons and hand-to-hand combat. Rachel Weisz stars as a doctor from the program, while Edward Norton is introduced as the mastermind behind it all.
The Hollywood Reporter spoke to Marshall and Crowley, at the New York premiere of The Bourne Legacy about their quasi-reboot/sequel -- and how, according to Marshall, it's unlikely there will be a fifth Indiana Jones film.
The Hollywood Reporter: Five years after, you decided to do a fourth film?
Frank Marshall: We decided to do a fourth film like two weeks after the third one, but it’s taken us five years to do that.
THR: You had planned to do it with Matt; once that didn’t happen, was there ever the thought of not going forward?
Marshall: No, I think we were always looking for a story idea, and that’s when Tony came up with this idea of how to sort of expand the world, and it fit into everything. ... We don’t give up easy.