Jason Bourne: Killer details about film's first action sequence
All about Bourne’s big comeback scene
Matt Damon hadn’t played Jason Bourne since 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum, but he quickly makes up for lost time in his latest outing, kicking off the character’s long-awaited return with an adrenaline-fueled chase set during an austerity riot in Athens.
“It’s the kind of action sequence you can only see in a Bourne movie,” says returning director Paul Greengrass. “It marries action with a really intense, emotionally truthful next chapter in the Jason Bourne story.”
Greengrass thought he said goodbye to Bourne nine years ago (“I did think I was done, to be honest”), but Damon convinced him that audiences craved a comeback, kicking off the creation of an adventure that sees Bourne reunite with sympathetic spook Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles).
“I felt that if we were going to come back, we had to create a new chapter in a much-loved book,” shares Greengrass. “Hopefully we can reassure our audience that what they’re seeing is an authentic Bourne movie with an authentic Bourne feel, with the same characters, but eight or nine years later – that’s the idea.”
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“Life out in the cold isn’t working for either of them,” Damon elaborates of the former Treadstone agents. “Nicky uses the riot for cover to meet with him, but she gets followed, and that sets the plot in motion.”
With the Canary Islands standing in for Athens, a crowd of hundreds of locals — who learned Greek phrases ahead of the 25-day shoot — played ardent activists. “Never for one second did I not feel like I was in the middle of some austerity riot,” Damon says. “That was my biggest takeaway from this, was that we got really, really lucky with the extras.”
“It’s really the start of our story,” shares Greengrass, adding of the above image of Bourne on his bike, surrounded by protestors. “This feels like a classic Bourne still, and when I think of the movie, I think it defines it.”
And define it does, with a breathless motorcycle chase that places the spymaster in the thick of activists, thugs, and government officials alike. “There’s always a point to whatever this character is doing. There’s always an intelligence behind the decisions he’s making and why,” says Damon of Bourne’s intimate approach to classic fight scenes. “The people who are chasing him are very smart too, so you’re watching this cat and mouse [game].”
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Which is precisely why this custom ride — grabbed from one of the goons on his tail — proves all the more valuable. Damon pulled off the high-risk caper with the help of stuntman Paul Edmondson.
“He does all the stuff that is life-threatening that I could never get insured for, and quite frankly, would never do,” Damon says, laughing. “Mostly because I’d just look terrified while doing it.”