Betrayal, character assassination, a contemptuous war of words. No, it's not a description of the latest potboiler novel, it's the actual behind-the-scenes brouhaha that's boiling to the surface over the chaotic production of "The Bourne Ulimatum" more than four years after-the-fact.
To go by The Hollywood Reporter, it started when star Matt Damon was in Vancouver shooting Neill Blomkamp's sci-fi thriller "Elysium" when he encountered freshly-opened offices for Tony Gilroy's Damon-less "Bourne Legacy" right next to his trailer.
This must have pissed the nice guy off something awful, 'cause he promptly went on a tirade against Gilroy to reporters in New York, which got the town buzzing last week.
Now that Pandora's box has been opened, despite the star's quick public apologies, it seems all sorts of the Bourne franchise's dirty laundry is being aired just as Universal is trying to start fresh with Jeremy Renner's Damon-substitute Aaron Cross. Apparently there's a deep power struggle between Gilroy, who had a hand in crafting all three previous screenplays, and parts 2 and 3 director Paul Greengrass whose shakycam aesthetic breathed new life into the spy genre.
"Paul and Tony have clashing styles," says an unidentified source. "Tony does all the work before and delivers a finished script. Paul wants the script to be ever-evolving during shooting."
Damon's loyalties have always resided with Greengrass, and the two went on to detonate the box office bomb "Green Zone" together, but ultimately passed on a fourth "Bourne" when their idea cup runneth dry. However, though "Bourne Legacy" could establish Cross as a viable alternative, there's still only one Jason Bourne and he's not opposed to coming back as long as the Paul Greengrass is greener on that other side.
"I think if ['Bourne Legacy'] doesn't work, we can just ignore it and pretend it didn't happen, and that'd be fine," says Damon. "But I expect that it will work and only help us if we did another one, which I'd love to do."