Monday, April 25, 2011

Jeremy Renner up for Bourne spin-off

“Matt Damon is Jason Bourne” was Universal’s selling point when audiences were introduced to amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne back in 2002's The Bourne Identity. The original spawned two sequels and was widely regarded as one of the best and most consistent franchises in years – and deservedly so. It placed Matt Damon firmly on the radar as arguably the best action movie star on the planet. With a Bic in his grasp he was a lethal killing machine out to get answers as to how and why he is a highly trained Government assassin. When we last saw Jason Bourne he was making a break for it from shady operatives in New York in the stunning third part of the trilogy The Bourne Ultimatum. Everyone, including myself thought that was a wrap – how wrong we all were.

Speculation was generating that potentially Jason Bourne would make a comeback in a fourth instalment. This was somewhat a gamble as people were adamant that Ultimatum was a closed book and that was that for Bourne. I for one was not rooting for a comeback and it now appears The Bourne Legacy has got the green light. In the modern day of reboots, prequels and spin-offs Bourne is getting the similar treatment. Not only is director Paul Greengrass (responsible for Bourne 2 & 3) stepping aside, Matt Damon has followed him out of the exit door and will NOT be returning as the highly skilled assassin. Instead writer of the three previous outings, Tony Gilroy will be stepping into the director’s chair with Jeremy Renner leading the way as his number one choice for the lead role.

The good old rumour mill has been working its socks off with speculation that actors including Toby Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Hartnett and Michael Fassbender were all considered for the lead role. But it now appears that Renner is game for Legacy. It will be set in the same Treadstone world but focusing on a new character. I’m very cautious about this approach because Matt Damon was the reason why the Bourne series was such a formidable and worldwide success. On the other hand I am satisfied that Renner was Universal’s eventual decision. After strong turns and deserved Oscar nods in the downright overrated war drama The Hurt Locker and in the blistering Ben Affleck crime thriller The Town (of which I was a huge fan of), he is a solid choice to step into Matt Damon’s shoes.

He has been on the hot property market for some time now and deserves all the plaudits. After coming into the acting world via a number of TV shows in the mid-90’s, he came to life with films such as S.W.A.T., North Country, 28 Weeks Later and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. He is now making a habit at scoring a number of high-profile roles including Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol alongside Tom Cruise and even accepting the future missions when the Cruiser steps down. Last year it was announced he would be playing Hawkeye in the superhero mash-up The Avengers, with even a brief cameo in the upcoming Thor. A popular man he most certainly is at the moment and for good reason.

It remains to be seen who Renner will play in The Bourne Legacy but time will tell when filming commences in September for a Summer release in 2012. Universal have some adjustments to make in their ad campaign if this is gonna work. “Jeremy Renner is…”

Written by Michael Cunneen