Bourne is back, with lit­tle to say

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

IN the rar­efied world of in­ter­na­tional es­pi­onage, where dis­cre­tion is con­sid­ered the bet­ter part of valor, no one ex­pects you to be the life and soul of the party. But shad­owy for­mer CIA op­er­a­tive Ja­son Bourne is la­conic even by a spy’s stan­dards, ac­cord­ing to US ac­tor Matt Da­mon, who has re­vealed his iconic char­ac­ter has just 25 lines in the lat­est Bourne film.

The am­ne­siac su­per-spy re­turns to the big screen next week for the first new in­stall­ment of the Robert Lud­lum-based thriller se­ries since 2012, and the first star­ring Da­mon in nine years.

Ja­son Bourne, the fifth film in the hit fran­chise, sees the 45-year-old pit­ted against Ali­cia Vikan­der’s Heather Lee, the head of the CIA’s Cy­ber Ops depart­ment who is de­ter­mined to flush out her neme­sis.

Paul Green­grass, di­rec­tor of The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ul­ti­ma­tum (2007) was per­suaded to re­join Da­mon for the next chap­ter of the Univer­sal fran­chise af­ter both men sat out 2012’s The Bourne Legacy.

Da­mon told the Lon­don-based Guardian Green­grass called him af­ter look­ing at the fin­ished movie and told him he only had about 25 lines.

“Well, I’ve done it three times,” Da­mon said of play­ing the spy of few words, adding that screen­writer Tony Gil­roy made Bourne “a very lonely char­ac­ter” af­ter his girlfriend dies in the sec­ond movie.

“I re­mem­ber Tony writ­ing me an email say­ing, ‘You do re­alise what this means? You do re­alise you’re not go­ing to talk in this movie.’ I said, ‘No, I love that.’”

Van­ity Fair pointed out in an ar­ti­cle pub­lished on its web­site on July 18 that, given his lim­ited di­a­logue, Da­mon was prob­a­bly earn­ing at least $1 mil­lion a line for Ja­son Bourne.

Al­though his fee for be­ing wooed back to the fran­chise has not been made pub­lic, Da­mon was paid US$26 mil­lion for The Bourne Ul­ti­ma­tum in 2007, ac­cord­ing to Forbes mag­a­zine, and earned $25 mil­lion for last year’s space thriller The Mar­tian.

“The thing about mak­ing these films is that they’re not like a nor­mal film. With a fran­chise movie, it’s got to turn the wheels of the in­dus­try and the stu­dio has to have them,” Green­grass told the Guardian, ex­plain­ing Bourne’s lack of di­a­logue.

“So you start with a re­lease date. They say we’re go­ing to make a new Bourne film and it comes out sum­mer of X. Then they start on a script and in­vari­ably the script is not ready in time.”

Rather than start film­ing with­out a script, Green­grass says that he and his fel­low screen­writer Christo­pher Rouse hur­ried the writ­ing process, and di­a­logue was not a pri­or­ity.

Da­mon is not the first star to com­mand a strato­spheric fee per word in an ac­tion block­buster – Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger re­port­edly got $15 mil­lion, or $21,429 per word, for Ter­mi­na­tor 2: Judg­ment Day.

And like the burly Aus­tri­anAmer­i­can, Da­mon ded­i­cated the en­ergy he might nor­mally have spent on learn­ing his lines into hit­ting the gym, com­plet­ing two 90-minute high-in­ten­sity ses­sions ev­ery day for 10 weeks.

“I trained a lot more than I ever had done be­fore be­cause Paul Green­grass said that when we see Bourne in the first frame of the movie and it looks like he hasn’t been liv­ing well, then we don’t have a movie,” Da­mon told Bri­tish news­pa­per The Daily Tele­graph.

“So he re­ally wanted me to be phys­i­cally fit and lean, so it was a lot of work for me to get there.”

When Ja­son Bourne opens, the pro­tag­o­nist is given se­cret in­for­ma­tion that could lead him to more an­swers about his past, af­ter liv­ing in Greece, where he earned pin money as a bare-knuckle boxer.

Tommy Lee Jones plays CIA di­rec­tor Robert Dewey, who leads the gov­ern­ment to be­lieve Bourne in­tends to re­veal the names of covert op­er­a­tives in a mass data dump.

The film sees Da­mon re­unite af­ter a gap of nine years with Ju­lia Stiles, who first ap­peared in 2002’s The Bourne Iden­tity as CIA an­a­lyst Nicky Par­sons and has gone rogue.

The 35-year-old, who at­tended the film’s glit­ter­ing US pre­miere in Las Ve­gas on July 18 along­side Da­mon and Vikan­der, told The Tele­graph that Green­grass had a knack of set­ting his movies in a world that was fa­mil­iar to au­di­ences.

“He can keep the po­lit­i­cal is­sues and the en­vi­ron­ment very timely and rel­e­vant,” she said.

“He wrote it a year ago, but it feels shock­ingly fa­mil­iar given all the protests and vi­o­lence that we’ve ex­pe­ri­enced in the United States.” –

Photo: AFP

Matt Da­mon and wife Lu­ciana Bar­roso at­tend the pre­miere of in Las Ve­gas on July 18.

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