Matt Damon Says Tony Gilroy's 'Bourne Ultimatum' Script was an 'Unreadable, Career-Ender'

In an interview with GQ magazine, Matt Damon opens up about writer Tony Gilroy's relationship with the Bourne franchise. While he believes Gilroy to be, "a great director," he expresses some reservations about Gilroy's Bourne scripts.

It all began with the first Bourne movie. Damon says the movie was thought to be a turkey. No movie comes out a year late, has four rounds of reshoots and is still good. Gilroy saw a rough cut of The Bourne Identity and went to the Writers Guild looking to, as Damon puts it, "have another guy take the bullet with him."
Gilroy then wrote the second Bourne movie and with the franchise taking off was able to secure some extremely rare conditions for Bourne Ultimatum. Gilroy was able to strike a deal to write just one draft of the script, take no studio notes, do no rewrites and get paid, "an exorbitant amount of money."
"It's really the studio's fault for putting themselves in that position," Damon says. "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 the 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."
Gilroy's lackluster script threw Ultimatum into chaos.
"We had a start date. Like, 'It's coming out August of next year.' We're like, 'Hang on, we've got to figure out what the script is.'"
In the end, George Nolfi and Scott Z. Burns, with input from director Paul Greengrass were able to deliver under extreme deadline pressure. Then, Gilroy raised another challenge.
"Before the movie came out, he arbitrated to get sole credit."
The WGA looked into the matter and turned Gilroy down, a verdict Damon believes was, "a little bit of justice."
Damon then backs off a bit saying that he admires Jeremy Renner and also fully intends to make another Bourne movie someday. He says he's, "really pulling for this one, even though I don't have anything to do with it. Selfishly, it's bad for me if that movie doesn't do well."
The Bourne Legacy was written and directed by Gilroy and opens August 3.
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