Matt Damon Headed Back To Play Jason Bourne Yet Again

by Zach Seemayer 7:58 PM PDT, September 16, 2014
Photo: Universal

As the old saying goes, you can't keep a good government assassin down. Jason Bourne – and not Jeremy Renner's semi-confusing Jason Bourne analog – is coming back as Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass are currently making a deal with Universal to reunite for a third time, according to Deadline.

This will be the fourth time Damon has stepped into the shoes of the titular trained killer, first playing him in 2002 in The Bourne Identity. Identity was directed by Doug Liman who handed the series' reigns over to Greengrass in 2004 for The Bourne Supremacy.

It was Greengrass who gave the franchise its iconic handheld 'shaky cam' look, which he used to acclaimed effect in the 2007 installment The Bourne Ultimatum, which was the last film Damon appeared in as the eponymous hero.

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In 2012, the series was quasi-rebooted with Jeremy Renner starring as Aaron Cross, another government-trained super soldier who is also trying to get to the bottom of a conspiracy surrounding his existence. The film took place during the same time period as The Bourne Identity, and was considered a "side-quel" instead of a prequel.

However, Renner's run at leading the franchise fell a bit short. The film took in a domestic gross of only $113 million, still short of its substantial $125 million budget. By comparison, Damon's last turn as Bourne took in $227 million off a $110 million budget, with an additional $215 million overseas.

According to interviews with Damon and Greengrass in the past, the main obstacle that they faced coming up with a sequel to Ultimatum was finding a place to take Bourne's story. The first three films in the franchise followed Jason Bourne's quest to discover the truth about his own identity. When this was accomplished, it became difficult for the pair to think of new directions to take the plot.

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Apparently, this problem has been solved. Universal feels so confident about the new Damon-led installment, they've already given it a July 16, 2016 release date – the date that had been reserved for the Renner-led Bourne spinoff, which is still in development but will likely be taking a backseat.