Rumors had been swirling since late last week, and this week Variety has confirmed that director Paul Greengrass is leaving the Bourne franchise. In the confirmation, the studio (Universal) released the following statement from the director:
“I will always be grateful to have been the caretaker to Jason Bourne over the course of The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. I’m very proud of those films and feel they express everything I most passionately believe about the possibility of making quality movies in the mainstream.
My decision to not return a third time as director is simply about feeling the call for a different challenge. There’s been no disagreement with Universal Pictures. The opportunity to work with the Bourne family again is a difficult thing to pass up, but we have discussed this together and they have been incredibly understanding and supportive.
I’ve been lucky enough to have made four films for Universal, and our relationship continues. Jason Bourne existed before me and will continue, and I hope to remain involved in some capacity as the series moves on.”
Sources close to the project have claimed that Greengrass and Universal had a disagreement over the script. It has been said (rumored) that Greengrass was deeply unhappy that Universal brought in secondary writer Josh Zetumer to work on a ‘parallel’ screenplay for the film, effectively rewriting the one already drafted by Ocean’s 12 scribe, George Nolfi.
So if the shakey-cam happy Greengrass is moving on to (pardon me) greener pastures, what is to come of the Untitled Jason Bourne Project, a film into which Universal has already sunk plenty of money? They don’t yet have Matt Damon signed on to reprise the role of Jason Bourne, but they do have one (maybe two) scripts for the project.
The studio seems to have a solution already waiting in the wings. Or more appropriately, a few solutions. Here’s the line-up of potential replacements:
Director of Michael Clayton and Duplicity, he worked on the screenplays of all three Bourne movies thus far and has really come into his own as director. He’s probably the best choice and based on his previous work, he likes to keep the camera still.
The Ocean’s 12 screenwriter has been attached to this film from the beginning. He is currently directing The Adjustment Bureau with Matt Damon, which is also set up at Universal. Assuming the hullabaloo about Uni going away from Nolfi’s script isn’t true, he’d probably be the logical choice to write and direct the pic.
There are wild cards, of course. Doug Liman directed The Bourne Identity, but was replaced by Greengrass and relegated to the role of Producer on the second film. There’s no word on whether he’d even be interested in returning. As well, there is a major stable of action directors hovering around over at Universal. Everyone from Justin Lin to (shiver) Rob Cohen. But lets not get ahead of ourselves. My money is on the two very obvious choices from within the Bourne family. The next step for Universal is getting Damon in line and deciding where they want to go from there.
We’ll update you with more, once more is available to be known.
Side note: Is it just me, or does Paul Greengrass look like the long-lost brother of Wayne’s World 2 and Pirate Radio star Ralph Brown? Have you ever seen them in the same room? Neither have I…