I just got off the phone with Paul Greengrass, who is promoting his excellent new film Green Zone, which more or less takes the feel and action of a Bourne movie and places it into the real world and deals with real, current political issues. Paul and I talked (or rather Paul talked – you ask a question and twenty minutes later your interview is over and you have a massive, smart and awesome essay delivered to you by the world’s smartest action movie director) about the film at hand, but at the end of the conversation I had to ask whether he was officially done with the Bourne franchise. He had said that he was finished, but recent quotes from Green Zone and Bourne star Matt Damon made it seem possible that a third film from Greengrass could be in the offing.
‘I have moved on,’ he told me. ‘I finished [Green Zone] in July, had the summer off, and I came back and thought I could find a way to get engaged and make [a fourth Bourne film], [but] I thought in my head there were so many other things and films I wanted to make. I didn’t have the fire in my belly. Not that I don’t like Jason Bourne, not that I’m not extremely grateful to the franchise, not that I’m extremely close to the studio – there were no arguments. I didn’t feel like I had anything else to contribute. It just happens with franchises; you get to a point where you feel like you’ve done it.’
That said, Greengrass sees the franchise going on, and his association with Universal (who are distributing Green Zone as well as the next Bourne movie), continuing. ‘They need to find someone else to come in to take it in a new direction I wouldn’t have thought of and it will be better. I’ll continue to make movies with the studio, and I’ll continue to make movies with Matt, because there are a lot of movies I’d like to make with him. In the end in your creative journey through life you need new challenges, and I’ve come to that place.’
So what’s that next challenge? ‘Could it be a romantic comedy?’ he joked. ‘Probably not. It’ll probably be some gigantic action movie, but it’ll be fun and new. Watch this space.’