Sorry, Bourne fans, looks like there’s a major crimp in “Bourne 4’s” road to a 2011 release date: director Paul Greengrass, who helmed the previous two films in the franchise, has bailed on the fourth entry. This follows the Playlist article of Greengrass’ departure, and it certainly looks like Greengrass and Universal have gotten together to do some damage control. The result is this press release from Greengrass through the studio:
“You won’t find a more devoted supporter of the Bourne franchise than me. 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.”
The problem about making a “Bourne” movie without Greengrass? One word: Matt Damon. The two are buds, and it’s going to take a pretty big replacement to convince Damon to do another “Bourne” movie. It’s not impossible, of course, especially if Damon’s career wanes in the coming years, which doesn’t appear likely in the foreseeable future.
So, when will we see a “Bourne 4″ in theaters? Maybe it’ll actually keep its 2011 date if a new director is hired fast enough, and Damon deems to return. Then again, it could take years, maybe decades. How long until Damon needs a hit?