Thanks to his roles in standout films such as Good Will Hunting, The Departed, and of course, the Bourne trilogy, there’s no denying that Matt Damon is one of his generation’s biggest movie stars. However, since he last appeared as Robert Ludlum’s famous character in 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum, most of Damon’s film have either performed below expectations (Elysium, Monuments Men) or been largely ignored (Promised Land) at the box office – with the exception of True Grit, anyway
However, that could all be changing in the very near future. Damon is set to star in Ridley Scott’s newest sci-fi film, The Martian, which has already snagged an awards-friendly release date of November 2015. Besides venturing out into space, the actor made headlines this past week thanks to the news that he’s in talks to reprise his iconic role as Jason Bourne for a new installment directed by his friend Paul Greengrass for a 2016 date.
According to a new report, Damon is adding yet another intriguing film to his plate – one that has the potential to be a prestige picture itself. Deadline claims that the Oscar-winner has entered talks to play the lead in Legendary Pictures’ The Great Wall, which will be directed by famous Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou (Raise the Red Lantern, Her0).
Astute readers may recall that The Great Wall was originally slated to begin production in spring 2013, back when Edward Zwick (The Last Samurai) was set to call the shots, and Henry Cavill and Benjamin Walker (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) were cast, but obviously a lot has changed since then. Zwick has since left the director’s chair and Cavill is knee-deep in DC Comics adaptations for the time being. Hence, the project is heading on a new path to the screen.
In addition to Yimou and perhaps Damon being attached, The Great Wall is also getting a new writer. Deadline notes that while Carlo Bernard and Doug Miro penned the first script draft, the latest revisions come from Bourne franchise scribe Tony Gilroy, a screenwriter who has a long history with creating excellent parts for Damon.
Not much is known about the film’s narrative so far, only that it will explore the mystery behind why the Great Wall of China was built and the “secrets beneath its stones.” If nothing else, Legendary is getting talented people to work behind-the-camera to bring this story to life. That’s enough to color us interested.
Again, the disclaimer here is that “in talks” is not the same as “confirmed.” Damon will shoot The Martian then (possibly) set to work on his next Bourne outing, so scheduling conflicts could cause this partnership to fall apart. That said, there’s no indication on when The Great Wall will reach theaters – and if Damon is indeed discussing the lead role, he must feel fairly confident he can fit it into his planner. Perhaps the film will be put on hold until Damon is good and ready.
We’ll keep you updated on The Great Wall as more information becomes available.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.