Matt Damon vs. Tony Gilroy 'The Bourne Ultimatum' Screenplay

Matt Damon, The Bourne Ultimatum
Matt Damon, The Bourne Ultimatum

The Bourne Legacy director-writer Tony Gilroy mentioned in the previous post (Jeremy Renner 'The Bourne Identity' Reboot to Succeed?) is the guy The Bourne Identity star Damon dissed (and later more or less apologized for dissing) in an candid interview for GQ magazine. After stating that Gilroy's The Bourne Identity screenplay was perceived to be a turkey before the film's release – and that the screenwriter was eager to share credit (i.e., blame) with someone else – Damon remarked that Gilroy was paid “an exorbitant amount of money” for his single draft on The Bourne Ultimatum, the third and most recent Bourne movie. According to Damon, that was not money well spent.

“It's really the studio's [Universal's] fault for putting themselves in that position. I don't blame Tony for taking a boatload of money and handing in what he handed in. It's just that it was unreadable. This is a career-ender. I mean, I could put this thing up on eBay and it would be game over for that dude. It's terrible. It's really embarrassing. He was having a go, basically, and he took his money and left.”

Entered George Nolfi and Scott Z. Burns, with the assistance of director Paul Greengrass, to rescue the production by fully revamping Gilroy's work. Damon added that once all was done, Gilroy “arbitrated to get sole credit.” The Writers Guild, however, eventually decided against Gilroy, who had to share credit with Nolfi and Burns. “That was just a little bit of justice, I have to say,” Damon summed up.

Damon later called his anti-Gilroy outburst “unprofessional.” I'm not sure if keeping mum about (what seems like) unethical behavior is a form of “professionalism.” Perhaps it is; perhaps it's nothing more than a way to cover one's own back. Damon, after all, claims he may do another Bourne movie in the future. Either way, I can't help but lament that there aren't more such honest outbursts out there.

Directed by District 9's Neill Blomkamp, Damon's next movie, Elysium, opens March 1, 2013. Directed and co-written by Tony Gilroy, The Bourne Legacy opens next August 3.

See also: The Bourne Legacy box office: Trailing Matt Damon Bourne movies.

Matt Damon The Bourne Ultimatum photo: Universal Pictures.

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4 Comments to Matt Damon vs. Tony Gilroy 'The Bourne Ultimatum' Screenplay

  1. editor

    As explained in the article, Damon did make some unflattering comments about Tony Gilroy's attitude regarding “The Bourne Identity” and its screenplay (prior to the film's release & warm reception).

    It's all in the “GQ” piece.

  2. Jane

    And that's what I'm saying. Damon has never criticised the Bourne Identity screenplay (he's only ever praised that script).

  3. editor

    That's exactly what the article says. In addition to mentioning a comment Damon made regarding Gilroy's “The Bourne Identity” screenplay.

  4. Jane

    Damon's criticising Gilroy's original draft of the script for Bourne Ultimatum (later fixed by other writers), not Bourne Identity.