So, after all of the agita involved with making The Bourne Ultimatum, will there be a fourth one? Well, it depends on whom you ask. Neither director Paul Greengrass nor Matt Damon has signed on for another, and neither seems in any rush to do so. ”Ultimately, it will be the audience that decides,” says Greengrass, ”but no one’s talked to me about it.” Damon, however, thinks another chapter is inevitable. He just doesn’t know if he wants in: ”The studio obviously wants to keep it alive. I mean, look, Universal is owned by GE. When they sell a refrigerator that works, they want to try to sell more of them. But from the creative side, this is definitely the end of the story of this guy’s search for his identity.”
If there is a sequel, Damon believes there should be a hiatus first. ”I think the way you could do a No. 4 is to do it in, like, 10 years.” Of course, the studio might not want to wait that long. ”I’m not surprised Matt said that, after what he just went through,” says Universal’s president of production, Donna Langley. ”But if we had a great script, my hope is we could be persuasive.”
Meanwhile, both Greengrass and Damon have chosen their next projects. In the fall, Greengrass starts shooting Imperial Life in the Emerald City, an adaptation of Washington Post journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s Iraq war chronicle. Damon may star — if he can coordinate it with his next film, Steven Soderbergh’s corporate thriller The Informant.
Finally, there’s the question of what the superspy would do in a fourth film. Robert Ludlum wrote only three Bourne books before he died, in 2001, and then Eric Van Lustbader put out the next two in his stead. In any case, the films have never had much in common with the books, titles notwithstanding. ”I just don’t see what story you could do that would feel right,” says Damon. ”It’s not like you can bump him on the head again and give him amnesia. Someone suggested we could do one where Bourne loses his car keys….” If that’s what they’re coming up with, maybe a break isn’t a bad idea.