Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass may be done with the Bourne franchise, but they are far from done with each other. The pair are planning their third collaboration – their first of the non-summer blockbuster variety – with an adaptation of Imperial Life in the Emerald City, Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s account of the United States’ catastrophic mishandling of post-war Iraq. As The Washington Post‘s Baghdad Bureau Chief, Chandrasekaran was privy to the whole sad affair, from Paul Bremer’s incompetent term as viceroy to the sheer cultural ignorance displayed by contractors in charge of the rebuilding effort. It’s an important story, one that can’t be told enough given the persistent ineptitude of outlets like CNN and MSNBC and sheer mendacity of others like Fox News and pretty much anything controlled by Rupert Murdoch.
But is it cinematic? Beats me. And who would the distinctly non-Indian Damon play? According to Variety, Damon would be cast as a composite of multiple characters in Chandrasekaran’s book, which means Naveen Andrews, Kal Penn and the guy who played the pimp in Bachelor Party are still in the running for the lead. Though it looks like we’re going to be drowning in Iraq movies over the next couple of years (detailing the involvement of the military, the CIA, the press, the politicians… pretty much everyone except the Iraqi people), the re-teaming of Greengrass and Damon makes this an automatic must-see. These fellas are smart, responsible, talented artists committed to making films that matter; if they weren’t, they’d be prepping Bourne #4 right now. You’ve got to respect that.
Universal and Working Title will be jointly producing Imperial Life in the Emerald City. Since Greengrass is currently without a definite Bourne Ultimatum follow-up, this could get fast-tracked.