Writer of Jeremy Renner’s ‘Bourne: Legacy’ Reportedly Doomed One More $444M Bourne Film Even Matt Damon Hates

'Bourne' film series star Matt Damon had severe complaints about writer Tony Gilroy, who nearly doomed the uber-successful 'The Bourne Ultimatum.'

Writer of Jeremy Renner's 'Bourne: Legacy' Reportedly Doomed One More $444M Bourne Film Even Matt Damon Hates


  • Matt Damon, the face of the Bourne film series, didn't return for the fourth installment of the franchise 'The Bourne Legacy' (2012) starring Jeremy Renner.
  • The helmer of the 2012 film, Tony Gilroy, has been credited as a writer/co-writer for the screenplays of the Damon-led series.
  • Alas, Gilroy's alleged substandard work in 'The Bourne Ultimatum' particularly reaped the scathing remarks of Damon.
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Jeremy Renner’s entry into the Bourne film series was marked with 2012’s The Bourne Legacy. This endeavor, helmed by Tony Gilroy with a screenplay co-written by him and his brother Dan Gilroy, saw Matt Damon, the star of the first three movies (and the fifth, titled Jason Bourne) in the action-thriller franchise, not return to portray the eponymous character.


Instead, Renner’s foray into the cinematic realm of Bourne would see him play the role of Aaron Cross.

Jeremy Renner (left) headlined the fourth Bourne film over Matt Damon (right)
Jeremy Renner headlined the fourth Bourne film over Matt Damon

Related: Matt Damon Said Jeremy Renner Killed His Hard-Earned Bourne Franchise


While Damon’s headlining of the franchise (barring the fourth installment) brought forth triumphant returns, his experience with the third installment had been particularly sour. The source of the Good Will Hunting star’s frustration was Tony Gilroy, who wrote previous initiatives before directing Renner’s entry into the series. The initial script draft of The Bourne Ultimatum, penned by Gilroy, had left the production in shambles, and emergency rewrites had to occur.

When it came time for Damon to express his dissatisfaction with the pre-production and the behind-the-scenes process, he was compelled to iterate some reasonable complaints about the filmmaker’s work.

Bourne Franchise’s Writer Nearly Doomed Matt Damon’s The Bourne Ultimatum

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

Talking to GQ, Matt Damon addressed the issues with The Bourne Ultimatum‘s initial screenplay draft Tony Gilroy worked on, which pushed the production into a hectic, disorganized chaos. The Air alum, who has experience with screenwriting and even boasts an Oscar for it, revealed that the Andor creator allegedly struck a unique deal with the studio, which involved the Bourne film series’ writer having to pen only one draft of the script.


Additionally, he was to receive a substantial, hefty payment for this, accept no notes, and not have to commit to rewrites. Of this alleged mess-of-a-draft, Damon had some particularly scathing remarks to make. Calling it “unreadable” and a “career-ender,” he said the following:

“It’s … the studio’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.”

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

Related: Jeremy Renner’s Risky Decision For The Bourne Legacy Left Howard Stern in Shock

He continued:


“I could put this thing up on eBay, and it would be game over for that dude. It’s terrible. It’s … embarrassing. He was having a go, basically, and he took his money and left.”

Turning in something substandard and barely usable led the production to succumb to turmoil when it was time to shoot. With August of the following year as the release date and a tight timetable, the crew was left to grapple with the script’s issues. Ultimately, George Nolfi and Scott Z. Burns were brought in to write the shooting script under intense time constraints. Helmer of the third installment, Paul Greengrass, was also present to accommodate the rewrites with feedback.

What had further exasperated lead star Matt Damon was Tony Gilroy arbitrating for a sole writing credit for The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) before its release. The Writers Guild of America reportedly looked into the request, eventually ruling against the notion and turning the writer down. Burns, Nolfi, and Gilroy all share screenplay credit for the movie.

Thankfully, the endeavor was salvaged and went on to reap critical approval and box-office success. Not only did the third installment pride itself on a 92% Rotten Tomatoes rating, but it also enjoyed a $444.1 million worldwide gross.


Matt Damon Believed That Jeremy Renner’s Bourne Film Ended The Franchise

 Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy (2012)
Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy (2012)

Matt Damon did not return for the fourth movie in the series, which starred MCU veteran Jeremy Renner. His (momentary) departure was primarily attributed to director Paul Greengrass stepping away from the franchise. Damon was loyal to Greengrass and felt that the story centered around the titular character had run its course.

Jeremy Renner‘s foray into the franchise as Aaron Cross in The Bourne Legacy (2012) was marked with writer/co-writer of the first three films Tony Gilroy taking on the directorial duties. The endeavor wasn’t intended to replace Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne. Instead, it introduced an original character as Gilroy attempted to carry on the film series’ narrative without altering its previously established plot points.

Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy (2012)
Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy (2012)

Related: Jeremy Renner Lists 10 Methods He Used to Recover From Snowplow Accident


The film’s release was met with mixed reviews and failed to replicate the box-office triumphs achieved by the third installment. It managed to make a profit, nevertheless.

When the face of the franchise, Matt Damon, was asked about Jeremy Renner’s project, he remarked the following to Playboy (via Parade):

“You know what? They might have taken the Bourne series out [the] back and shot it in the head. If that’s the end of it, that’s just the end of it. I hope not. I love the character and the three movies we did, so I’d love to figure out a way to do another…”

He also expressed his concerns to IndieWire, stating that the 2012 iteration had made it slightly tricky for the actor’s titular character to return and for them to make another Bourne film while heeding the thematic elements introduced through Renner’s film to the greater extent of the franchise’s universe.


Damon wouldn’t have to worry too long, as he would eventually reprise the titular character’s role in 2016’s Jason Bourne, with Paul Greengrass back at the helm.

Whether the reported new Bourne project currently in the works offers us a potential team-up between Renner and Damon remains to be seen.

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) can be streamed on Max. Meanwhile, Renner’s The Bourne Legacy (2012) is available for viewing via buying/renting on Amazon Prime Video.


Written by Debdipta Bhattacharya

Articles Published: 659

Debdipta Bhattacharya is a content writer at FandomWire, where she has written more than 500 articles on various topics of interest. She possesses a sincere passion for popular culture, anime, film production, and the evolving world of YouTube and streaming culture which has allowed her to be a devoted and well-informed writer. Debdipta holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication. She has honed her skills and expertise in content writing with over two years of experience and strives to learn and grow daily.