As Matt Damon looks for a career bounce-back, he’ll be diving into the sci-fi genre over the next couple of years. The actor is currently working on Ridley Scott’s The Martian (due November 2015), and this week signed on for Alexander Payne’s satirical project, Downsizing.
He’ll also be returning to action in one of his most iconic roles, that of Jason Bourne. A couple of months ago, it was reported that Damon would once again portray the super-spy in Bourne 5, with his old friend Paul Greengrass back in the director’s chair. The caveat there was that the duo was “in talks,” meaning that things could have theoretically fallen through, but that’s not the case. Damon has now confirmed he will be back.
The news comes courtesy of E! News, who did a red carpet interview with Damon and his lifelong friend Ben Affleck, who were promoting their Project Greenlight series. Affleck was the one who spilled the beans, which led Damon to elaborate:
“It’ll be in 2016 when the movie will actually come out. Paul Greengrass is going to do another one and that’s all I ever said. I just needed him to say yes.”
Longtime followers of the sequel’s development will recall that this has been Damon’s mantra all along. He loves playing the Bourne character, but has maintained for years that he would not reprise the part unless it was Greengrass calling the shots (and that the story made sense). With the two back in tow, Universal has obviously slated this film to be one of their top priorities – positioning it for the July 2016 date that was once reserved for Justin Lin’s Bourne Legacy followup that features Jeremy Renner’s Aaron Cross.
In fact, it was the existence of Legacy that fueled Damon’s hesitance to come back, as he has previously cited some of the narrative choices the filmmakers made for that movie (namely, the pills) would “make it harder” for the previous creative team to make another Bourne-centric one. They seem to have found a way around that issue, with series producer Frank Marshall recently stating that Damon’s new film and the Legacy sequel would be separate entities. Hypothetically, Bourne 5 (or whatever the 2016 installment ends up being) could just continue Jason’s story without worrying about picking up the threads from Cross’s tale for the time being.
During the E! interview, Affleck specifically mentioned “next fall” for when Damon would be doing principle photography on Bourne 5, which contradicts the original belief that Universal would want to get the cameras rolling in the first half of 2015. If Affleck is right, it’s likely that Damon’s commitment to The Martian is the culprit for that (Ridley Scott’s film is still in pre-production).
Earlier this year, Greengrass became attached to helm an Olympic bombing drama starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill. And while there’s been no further word on its progress, we would have to assume the Oscar nominee is still up for that job. So he may have to line up his schedule as well before coming back to Bourne.
Either way, fans of the franchise can now officially celebrate what they’ve wanted to hear all along. Damon and Greengrass are making another Bourne, and given the commercial and critical success their two outings had during the late 2000s, we’d have to guess that all parties involved are thrilled at the possibilities.
Bourne 5 (not the official title) will be in theaters July 15, 2016.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.