Greengrass Off The “Bourne” Franchise?

Director Paul Greengrass has walked away from the fourth film in the Jason Bourne film franchise currently in development at Universal Pictures says The Playlist.

Two separate scripts were being penned concurrently by two different writers – George Nolfi, who co-wrote “The Bourne Ultimatum” and upcoming Matt Damon thriller “The Adjustment Bureau”, and Josh Zemuter whose has several scripts in development including “The Infiltrator” and the “Dune” remake.

Part of the problem is that Greengrass wasn’t consulted about Zemuter’s hiring so is unhappy with that, while Nolfi’s script is generally being dismissed.

Another part is “Green Zone”, the Iraq-set thriller re-teaming Greengrass and Damon. Originally slated to be a small ‘between Bourne’ project, the budget has been blown out by numerous reshoots and delays to a rumored $150 million (not good considering the poor performance of Iraq-themed films).

Then of course there’s the two ‘Bourne’ sequels that Greengrass did. ‘Ultimatum’ cost quite a penny for Universal and saw similar reshoots and budget overspending due to Greengrass’ style of starting without a finished screenplay and ‘finding the film’ in the editing room. Critics swooned and domestically it was a major hit, but globally the films don’t do anywhere near as well as the rival James Bond franchise.

In a cash strapped environment, the studio is understandably skittish about proceeding without a locked down script and budgetary limitations, while Greengrass is more than happy with his style of filming and doesn’t feel a need to change it – especially considering how successful he’s made the Bourne franchise for the studio.

Greengrass and Matt Damon are also tightly connected, thus Damon’s involvement is also in question now. The site however freely admits that this ‘walk off’ could be a negotiating tactic and the man could be back on the project in a few months. In the meantime don’t be surprised if several other names pop up as potential replacements.