Paul Greengrass, who directed the second and third installments of the $945 million grossing franchise — The Bourne Supermacy and The Bourne Ultimatum — has confirmed that he will not be making the fourth film. Greengrass, who also directed the controversial 9/11 drama United 93, issued this statement: “You won’t find a more devoted supporter of the Bourne franchise than me. I will always be grateful to have been the caretaker to Jason Bourne over the course of The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. I’m very proud of those films and feel they express everything I most passionately believe about the possibility of making quality movies in the mainstream. My decision to not return a third time as director is simply about feeling the call for a different challenge. There’s been no disagreement with Universal Pictures. The opportunity to work with the Bourne family again is a difficult thing to pass up, but we have discussed this together and they have been incredibly understanding and supportive. I’ve been lucky enough to have made four films for Universal, and our relationship continues. Jason Bourne existed before me and will continue, and I hope to remain involved in some capacity as the series moves on.”
The story, which originally broke earlier this week on the blog The Playlist, cited script challenges and Greengrass’s schedule as mitigating factors. (Greengrass has been busy making Green Zone, a big-budget Iraq-based thriller, with Bourne star Matt Damon.) Variety’s Michael Fleming reports today that Damon is not yet attached to make the fourth Bourne film, either, and posits that Tony Gilroy, who wrote all three previous Bourne films and recently directed Michael Clayton and Duplicity, could now possibly step in to write and direct. It’s also possible that Georg Nolfi –who co-wrote Ultimatum with Gilroy and is now making his directing debut, Adjustment Bureau (based on a Philip K. ¤¤¤¤ short story) with Damon in the lead — might also consider stepping in as director. Nolfi has already written a version of the script for the fourth Bourne, but when he left to do Adjustment, the studio brought in writer Joshua Zetumer to script a different version. It remains to be seen which script, and which director (if any), will persuade Damon to sign his name on the dotted line.