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THE BOURNE LEGACY – Production Notes - I Watch Mike

THE BOURNE LEGACY – Production Notes - I Watch Mike

Cross anticipates his

Cross anticipates his enemy’s next move. several others—the filmmakers cast Oscar ® nominee Edward Norton. When Outcome is in danger of being exposed to public scrutiny, Byer cuts his losses by deciding to shut it down and move on. Fox explains how the Byer character illustrates Gilroy’s nuanced approach to characterization: “Tony explores how individuals within organizations give themselves license to behave in unscrupulous ways: Tilda Swinton in Michael Clayton, both Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti in Duplicity, and now Edward Norton and his team in Legacy. They’re powerful antagonists because they hold their conviction and rationale about the greater good they believe to be serving. The familiar movie trope of the individual against the machine is made much more complicated, messy and real because he dramatizes the reality behind individual motivations.” Gilroy expands upon why the selection of this antagonist was so important: “We were casting the mastermind of the entire franchise. We knew we’d be saying to the audience that this is the guy that’s been sitting beside you in the theater for the last 12 years watching the CIA screw everything up for him. We needed a world-class actor; we needed weight. We needed someone with the kind of intelligence that’s in the room before the scene starts, and above all I needed 26 an actor I could collaborate with to make sure that Ric Byer’s worldview wasn’t painted entirely black. He believes he’s one of the very few people who can bear the moral weight of the darkness necessary to keep his country safe.” Norton describes his interest in joining a film with a story rooted inside the chambers of governmentfunded intelligence: “I see a theme running through all of Tony’s films that I think is timely and smart. He’s been digging into the way that corporations have permeated our culture and threaten to compromise us from different angles. I liked that in this film he was exploring the way that power is exercised in the nexus between corporations and government...questioning who’s working for who.” The performer appreciated that Gilroy colored his characters in moral gradations. Though Byer is hellbent on erasing Outcome, his motives (in his mind) are sound ones. Shares Norton: “All of the characters in this film are painted in shades of gray. Tony hasn’t woven a web of heroes and villains. Everybody’s made certain compromises and certain rationalizations in and around what they do...my character certainly, but Rachel’s too and even Jeremy’s. He’s digging into how people have their best ideals and impulses co-opted by a system in many different ways. I like that kind of complexity.” Marshall was impressed by Norton’s ability to straddle the line between a man of his country and a coldblooded executioner who sees the emergence of Bourne as an infection that must be contained. The producer commends: “Edward kills it. He’s just a spectacular actor and is terrific at playing the ‘villain’ in the piece. But Byer is not simply a villain. He’s just the guy who’s after Aaron Cross. Though we’ve had several of these types along the way, Edward is a particularly tough one.”

To cast the roles of Byer’s staff—the scientists, intelligence and surveillance experts who hunt down Aaron and Marta from their hub in Washington, D.C.— Gilroy delved into the world of New York theater. “Tony’s a New York guy,” shares Crowley. “He knows both theater and New York film very well. It’s exciting to draw from that pool of people.” Tony Award winner DONNA MURPHY (of Broadway’s Passion and The King and I), was cast as Byer’s dedicated second-in-command, Dita, the “nun” to Byer’s “priest.” “She’s his wingman, or wingwoman,” Murphy explains. “She’s got a background with the CIA; she’s an extremely good scientist. The biggest part of her job is to be so tuned in on Byer that when he needs something, she’s three steps ahead.” Other performers who were brought aboard to play key members of Byer’s team include Obie Award winner MICHAEL CHERNUS as Ingram, and COREY STOLL, recently nominated for a Drama Desk Award for off-Broadway’s Intimate Apparel and who made a memorable appearance as Ernest Hemingway in Midnight in Paris, as Vendel. As Aaron and Marta prove elusive, news of a government subcommittee investigating Blackbriar adds to the tense atmosphere in the crisis suite where Byer and his staff are holed up. Likely most disturbed by the program becoming public is Terry Ward, the head of a company with intimate ties to Outcome. Ward is played by New York theater actor Dennis Boutsikaris, the Obie Award winner for Sight Unseen. Boutsikaris describes Ward’s relationship with Byer as contentious, with Ward ultimately outgunned. “Ward wants to think that he’s Byer’s superior, and he clearly is not,” the actor shares. “Ward wants to be a leader without any leadership qualities.” At Gilroy’s suggestion, Boutsikaris had his hair cut and trademark beard shaved in order to play the corporate suit. “We talked on the phone, and Tony told me that the hair and everything had to go,” Boutsikaris 27 remembers. “The whole feeling was how slick he wanted to make my character.” As tension escalates in the war room, Ward also clashes with the imposing ret. Adm. Turso. The military com mander who oversees Outcome is played by vet eran actor Stacy Keach, who describes his character as “a patriot and a man whose authority is there.” Turso speaks to his team in an intricate language that is quite specific to the work. Reflects Keach: “Tony is an extraordinary talent because he creates his own language. The Bourne franchise has one of its own. It’s intelligent, human and very personal. The trick with this kind of dialogue is to make it conversa tional and just sort of throw it away without making it too melodramatic.” Keach acknowledges that the scenes with Turso, Byer and the NRAG team were especially engaging. “The great thing about this franchise is the amazing balance between action, adventure, intrigue and suspense,” he says. “You have two very different environments: the outside environment where you follow Cross and his exploits over the world, and then you have the crisis room or the surveillance environment. As an audience member, that combination keeps you on the edge of your seat because you are seeing something at the same time the people in the movie are watching it.” Rounding out the cast members who are new to the Bourne franchise are Oscar Isaac and LOUIS OZAWA CHANGCHIEN. Isaac describes Outcome #3’s early interactions with Cross as “like a Western.” He shares: “My character has been living in a cabin for a month by himself with zero communication with the outside world…other than the occasional drop by of one of these guys.” When Cross arrives at #3’s remote base several days early, #3 is suspicious; similarly, Cross doesn’t trust his counterpart. “They’re like these dogs that are circling and sniffing each other,” suggests Isaac. They’re not necessarily posturing so much as they are uncertain. It’s dangerous.”

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