Jeremy Renner in 'The Bourne Legacy': First look at Aaron Cross
Matt Damon has gone from The Bourne Identity movies to Cameron Crowe's We Bought a Zoo and Neill Blomkamp's upcoming Elysium. In Damon's place – more or less – we now have Jeremy Renner, best known as the Academy Award-nominated actor from Kathryn Bigelow's Best Picture Oscar winner The Hurt Locker and Ben Affleck's The Town, in The Bourne Legacy. (Cosmic, in that Affleck and Damon have been pals for years and shared a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Good Will Hunting back in early 1998.)
More recently, Renner can be seen in a key role in the Brad Bird-Tom Cruise movie Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. MI4 just happens to be the most successful late 2011 release worldwide. Will the fourth Bourne movie be as lucky when it's released next summer?
Maybe yes, maybe no. Either way, USA Today has published (Jan. 2012) the first image of Jeremy Renner as The Bourne Legacy hero Aaron Cross – who, according to an Empire interview with Renner, will have a variety of different monikers. But hopefully only one face; I mean, those movies are confusing as is.
'The Bourne Legacy' cast
Directed by Michael Clayton's Tony Gilroy, and co-written by Gilroy and his brother, Dan Gilroy, besides Jeremy Renner this Bourne Identity spin-off features the following:
Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener, 2005). Two-time Academy Award nominee Edward Norton. Three-time Academy Award nominee Joan Allen. Five-time Academy Award nominee Albert Finney. Oscar Isaac. Scott Glenn. Stacy Keach.
The Bourne Legacy is scheduled to come out on Aug. 3.
For the record, below are The Bourne Legacy cast members' Oscar nominations alluded to above.
- Best Supporting Actor for Gregory Hoblit's Primal Fear (1996).
- Best Actor for Tony Kaye's American History X (1998).
- Best Supporting Actress for Oliver Stone's Nixon (1995).
- Best Supporting Actress for Nicholas Hytner's The Crucible (1996).
- Best Actress for Rod Lurie's The Contender (2000).
- Best Actor for Tony Richardson's Tom Jones (1963).
- Best Actor for Sidney Lumet's Murder on the Orient Express (1974).
- Best Actor for Peter Yates' The Dresser (1983).
- Best Actor for John Huston's Under the Volcano (1984).
- Best Supporting Actor for Steven Soderbergh's Erin Brockovich (2000).
Matt Damon vs. Tony Gilroy 'The Bourne Ultimatum' Screenplay
The Bourne Legacy director-writer Tony Gilroy is the guy The Bourne Identity star Damon dissed (and later more or less apologized for dissing) in a 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.
'Akira' Movie: Still On Despite Stalling
Jan. 8: Akira has stalled as Warner Bros. wants the film's screenplay revamped. Will the $90-million production to be directed by Jaume Collet-Serra still be a go? Well, possibly. Variety cites two examples of projects that have been recently put on hold due to budgetary issues, but that haven't necessarily been shut down for good.
One is David Dobkin's Arthur & Lancelot. The adventure fantasy's March 15, 2013, release date is now on hold while the studio finds ways to reduce its budget from $135 to $110 million. Kit Harington and Joel Kinnaman have the title roles.
The other title is Alex Proyas' Paradise Lost, which will miss its January start date due to budgetary woes. The one box office name in the project is Bradley Cooper, who is set to play Lucifer. Benjamin Walker is to play Lucifer's nemesis, the Archangel Gabriel, while Camille Belle will play the apple-eating Eve.
Akira has a relatively unproven box office name in the person of Garrett Hedlund, whose one commercial hit – a relatively moderate one – was TRON: Legacy in 2010. Later this year (at least in France), Hedlund will be seen in Walter Salles' independently made On the Road, co-starring Kristen Stewart, Sam Riley, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, and Amy Adams.
Coincidentally, Kristen Stewart was reportedly “in talks” to co-star with Hedlund in Akira. So far, that has come to naught. An actor to play Akira's nemesis hasn't been cast as yet, either, though performers as varied as Brad Pitt, Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield, and James McAvoy have been mentioned as possibilities. As per Variety, only two actors remained in contention by late 2011: Michael Pitt and Dane DeHaan, neither of whom is a box office name.
Even so, Variety adds that “the studio is by no means pulling the plug. Insiders said a new writer will probably be brought on over the next two weeks to focus on character elements and particularly on the pic's look.” No official names as yet, but rumor has it that the possibilities are The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises' Jonathan Nolan and, somewhat surprisingly, Green Lantern's Michael Green. Directed by Martin Campbell and starring Ryan Reynolds, Green Lantern was widely derided by critics and turned out to be a box office flop.
'Akira' Movie Shut Down
Jan. 5: Production on Akira has been shut down. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the problems have to do with the film's casting and budget, the latter currently at $90 million. So, does that mean it was useless to bitch and complain when white actors were considered for a role that some felt belonged only to ethnic Japanese? Maybe not.
Not that Warner Bros. will be necessarily casting Takeshi Kaneshiro as one of the leads. My point is that Akira will likely still get made. TRON: Legacy's Garrett Hedlund has already signed on to the project. Hedlund's co-star in the Walter Salles indie On the Road, Kristen Stewart, was “in talks” to play the female lead. Others supposed to appear in the film were Ken Watanabe and Helena Bonham Carter. But no one as yet has been cast as Hedlund's nemesis/brother. (Among those mentioned for either of the male leads were Stewart's Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson, in addition to Brad Pitt, Andrew Garfield, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, and Justin Timberlake.)
Besides the casting issue, the Reporter adds that Warners wants the film's budget lowered, even though it's now about half of the projected cost when Albert Hughes was set to direct. As per the Reporter, Akira's attached director Jaume Collet-Serra and producers Jennifer Kiloran Davisson and Andrew Lazar are now going to rework the screenplay so as to bring the budget down to $60-70 million.
According a tweet by Variety's Josh Dickey, however, “Good source tells [fellow Variety contributor Justin Kroll] that Akira issue isn't budgetary at all – it's that WB execs want more script development.”
Regarding Kristen Stewart's casting, Dickey had earlier tweeted the following: “Her deal never closed. Which is pretty telling, actually.” And in answer to a query about Stewart's potential casting, Dickey wrote: “Hard to say. With her deal not closed and the studio shrinking the budget, I wouldn't hold my breath.” But if the studio isn't really shrinking Akira's budget, then…
Well, in case Akira does indeed see the light of day – which is apparently quite possible – it'll be released in 2013. By then, we should know whether or not Kristen Stewart will be one of the film's stars.
Matt Damon The Bourne Ultimatum photo: Universal Pictures.
Aaron Cross a.k.a. Jeremy Renner The Bourne Legacy image: Universal Pictures.