THE BOURNE LEGACY – Production Notes - I Watch Mike
Marta conducts groundbreaking research as a biochemist at a top-secret lab in Maryland. JAMES NEWTON HOWARD (Michael Clayton, Duplicity) and costume designer SHAY CUNLIFFE (The Bourne Ultimatum, The Family Stone). 2nd unit director DAN BRADLEY (The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum) returns to choreograph and deliver the sequences that have become a benchmark for action filmmaking. HENRY MORRISON (The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum) joins Fox as executive producer of the action-thriller. ABOUT THE PRODUCTION Finding Aaron Cross: The Legacy Begins As the filmmakers of the Bourne franchise pondered the next chapter in the series, they faced a conundrum: At the end of The Bourne Ultimatum, the protagonist had been involved in a shootout in London’s Waterloo Station and then an even more high-profile car chase gunfight through the streets of New York City. Jason Bourne had gone public in a big way. He was poised – 20 – to expose the U.S. government for its litany of crimes when he vanished. Producer Frank Marshall explains the hurdle: “The challenge was ‘Where are we going to go now?’ Jason Bourne knew who he was, didn’t want to be in the same business anymore and wanted to go off on his own. We had to create a new set of circumstances for the story to go forward.” Despite the hesitancy, Patrick Crowley, who, alongside Marshall, produced the three previous entries in the series, admits that it was the fans’ interest in additional stories that kept the franchise alive. “We touched a nerve with people who would come up to us and say, ‘I like those movies so much. I hope you’re going to be doing another one,’” offers Crowley. “If you’ve done three of them and then people want to see a fourth, you’ve done something right.” In April 2010, several months after Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon opted not to participate in this chapter of the series, producers Jeffrey Weiner and Ben Smith met with the franchise’s narrative architect, Tony Gilroy, and asked him if he might spend some time thinking about how to move forward. Gilroy was intrigued and agreed to see if he could find an exciting way to continue this world that he had helped to create—one that had launched a new kind of spy thriller. Several weeks later, Gilroy came back to the producers with a concept for how to approach the material. He notes: “The thing that separated Bourne most clearly from the action films of the moment was the depth and complexity of the character’s problem. The idea of an assassin ‘coming to’ with no recollection of his dark past and paying the price for recovering his memory by realizing that he’s not the person he wants to be was an incredibly compelling motor. In the hands of an actor like Matt Damon, there was no limit on how
honest and detailed those ideas could be expressed. It was fun to think of ways to stage the Legacy story, but until there was a new character with a new problem that felt as powerful there wasn’t going to be a script. When that last piece fell into place—when Aaron Cross came into focus—when the thing that he needed became as clear and soulful to me as what we’d gone after with Bourne, that’s when everyone decided it made sense to move forward.” Gilroy then began work on a treatment for the project even as he outlined a blueprint for where the story might go after The Bourne Legacy. He began an in-depth research process that would serve as the underpinning for both documents. He looked most particularly at the secretive U.S. government agency known as DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) that is hard at work trying to figure out how to make better soldiers. DARPA and its intelligence counterpart, IARPA (Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity), fund many research programs with the objective of enhancing the cognitive and physical performance of American soldiers and spies. Gilroy notes: “There’s no drug testing in war. There’s a very real appetite to have soldiers with increased energy, higher pain thresholds and less need for sleep. The warrior who heals, learns and processes information faster is the dream of every commanding officer. We’re in a place now where the science has begun to make real that dream in a very unpredictable and terrifying way.” Just as in The Bourne Legacy, DARPA and its counterparts are working closely with the pharmaceutical industry, medical researchers, Silicon Valley and others to find ways to make humans into better warriors. Gilroy found that there was a burgeoning post-9/11 marriage of biology and warfare: a top-secret America that has proliferated, funded by the U.S. government and staffed by scientists often working for large corporations. It has, in fact, become so large that it is impossible to fully oversee by any one branch of the U.S. government. – 21 – Offers the director: “This was an odd story to research because I was doing more confirmation than prospecting. I kept finding that my imaginative ideas for Outcome and Candent and NRAG were already there and in play. Every hint that we’d laid along the way in the trilogy about Treadstone and its science-medical background fit perfectly into the existing reality. Then it was just a matter of asking what would happen if everything went wrong.” After finishing the treatment for The Bourne Legacy, Gilroy decided he would be interested in making this his next directorial effort. Although he began his career as a screenwriter, Gilroy has become an accomplished director with two features to his credit: 2007’s Best Motion Picture nominee Michael Clayton, starring George Clooney, for which Gilroy received Oscar ® nominations for both directing and writing, and Duplicity, the 2009 romantic caper starring Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. Aaron takes out the killers sent to eliminate Marta.