THE BOURNE LEGACY – Production Notes - I Watch Mike
Byer will not hesitate to burn Outcome to the ground. The producers and the studio agreed immediately and were enthusiastic about this turn of events. Says Marshall: “One of the best things about the movie was getting to work with Tony as a director. I’ve been involved with him on the other three movies as the writer, but way back on The Bourne Identity, I knew that someday he was going to direct. He was in the cutting room and making the kind of suggestions and solving the kind of problems in the way that a director would think about them. So, it’s not a surprise that he’s directing this film but it didn’t start out that way.” To collaborate on the screenplay, Gilroy called upon his brother, fellow screenwriter Dan Gilroy, for their first professional teaming in many years and they began work. Notes Dan Gilroy of the collaboration: “Tony and I actually co-wrote several unproduced screenplays when we were first starting. It was an easy fit then and pretty effortless now. Our process is outlining the story together and then leapfrogging scenes or sequences. When we’re working, it’s seven days a week—long hours. I’m in L.A, and he’s in New York, but these days distance doesn’t matter. There’s no ego involved. Whatever works gets used, and there were no disagreements or arguments. It was a blast. – 22 – We were both on the same page and committed to tuning every element to the highest possible degree.” The two writers expanded upon the research that Tony Gilroy had done for the treatment, while also developing the intense drama of the story. Continues Dan Gilroy: “We hope Legacy lives up to its title by expanding the mythology in smart, imaginative and absolutely realistic directions. All technology referenced in the film is either in development or in use by the U.S. intel community. The hardest part of the job was creating a character with a need that makes the film personal, and Tony had the core of that before I came on. Aaron Cross has a primal need that creates constant intimacy with the audience. The emotional journey is always in the foreground, which for me is the hallmark of all great action movies.” Marshall was thrilled with the resulting script. He commends: “The genius idea was Tony and Dan’s: Expand the world that Bourne lived in and see what else was out there and who is controlling whom. This way, we could build upon the world the audience had discovered via Jason Bourne and then have an opportunity to see new characters and the bigger picture.” Crowley agrees that the writer/director and his brother nailed it. The producer marvels at their crafting of a language specific to this series and how they connected everything in this world: “Tony’s obsessed with the intelligence community. He lives and breathes it, asking, ‘How would these people think, how would they act, and what are the relationships that you would have in the intelligence community?’ It thrilled me that we have a writer who is the soul of the whole series— who shows that he is an amazing director with two well received movies—come on board to direct this one.”
In keeping with Gilroy’s previous screenplays for the Bourne series, this script diverges dramatically from the plotlines of Ludlum’s Cold War-era novels but retains the author’s themes of conspiracy and government programs run amok. According to producer Ben Smith, this film offered the chance to build upon what had been established by the series creator, who died in 2001. “What’s special about Robert Ludlum’s work and about these movies is that they talk about the power of an individual,” says Smith. “In these times of massive corporations and governments and multinational interests, the films make us feel that we can make a difference.” Fellow producer Jeffrey Weiner shares Smith’s belief that Gilroy was the right filmmaker to take the mantle. He says, “We were thrilled that Tony not only wanted to write The Bourne Legacy, but also wanted to direct. He’s one of the few people who’s been with the entire series since the beginning. His understanding and feel for this world is invaluable in this process, and I think he’s given the people who will go to the movie exactly what they want out of a Bourne experience.” Joining the team as executive producers are Henry Morrison and Jennifer Fox, Gilroy’s longtime production partner. Fox reflects on their working relation ship and Gilroy’s sensi bilities at blending action and suspense with piercing drama. She says, “When Tony Gilroy writes, he can see the film in his mind down to the smallest detail, and his ability to focus and capture that vision is a testament to his instincts and to his creative stamina. Also, within Tony’s work there is always the essential desire for explanation of human drama. The depth of his complicated characters stem from that search for truth from character to character and scene to scene.” – 23 – Tell Me Your Name: Casting the Action-Thriller For Gilroy, finding the ideal performers to give life to the screenplay was the most crucial element in putting together the film. “Everything else can be pushed and fixed or wrangled in some way,” he says. “Acting is magic. I learned that a long time ago.” To play the part of Aaron Cross, the filmmakers turned to Oscar ® nominee Jeremy Renner, a performer as comfortable with drama as he is with action. “The reason Jeremy’s such an amazing actor is that he is a complicated guy,” underscores Gilroy. “He’s sweet and he’s hard, and he lets himself draw on all of that, all the time.” The director says that he’s a longtime admirer of Renner’s work: “I must’ve watched The Hurt Locker 18 times. In every scene, he is molecularly involved with the physical aspect of what’s happening at the moment. This integrity that he has, this feet-on-the-ground awareness and this surprising, explosive intelligence, made Jeremy the perfect cousin for Bourne.” Any concerns that the filmmakers might have had about Renner’s ability to transform into an action star were instantly assuaged. In fact, the director calls his Marta must slip into the Philippines undetected.