Matt Damon has confirmed that, after initially walking away from the popular action series, he’ll again star as Jason Bourne for the fifth installment. Damon’s announcement comes after Jeremy Renner took over the franchise in 2012’s “The Bourne Legacy,” a film that failed to meet with the same acclaim as Damon’s work.
Damon, who first starred in “The Bourne Identity” in 2002, confirmed during an interview with E! News that he’ll return as the Special Forces soldier conceived by the late author Robert Ludlum. Bowing out after three Bourne movies, Damon has maintained that he would return to the role only if director Paul Greengrass was also behind the project.
“Yes, next year,” he said. “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’ve ever said. I just needed him to say yes.”
Damon, 44, spoke to E! News after Greengrass told Deadline Hollywood he wouldn’t consider working on another Bourne movie, saying that with the amnesiac character’s memory regained there was simply nothing left to prove.
“I couldn’t come up with an idea, and the business reality of franchises is that when a studio has a ‘Bourne,’ they’re obliged to make one every couple of years,” he said. “I discovered in my heart I didn’t have another one in me. The best thing was to move on, have someone else come in and make their mark on it.”
That’s exactly what happened in 2012, when Renner, Edward Norton and Rachel Weisz starred in a movie that, while not including Jason Bourne, occurred in the same universe with a narrative inspired by the events of the first three films. The omission of the titular character was noticed by audiences and critics alike. The movie got mediocre reviews best summed up by Atlantic critic Christopher Orr.
“Perhaps the most interesting question arising from ‘The Bourne Legacy’,” he wrote, “is just how long the filmmakers hope to trade on the Bourne name without any, you know, Bourne.”