One of the surprise successes of 2002 was the movie version of Robert Ludlumís dark, edgy espionage thriller, The Bourne Identity. Cast totally against type, Matt Damon portrayed Jason Bourne, the trained assassin who is attempting to recover his memory. The movie went on to become Universalís highest grossing domestic release of the year with $121.4 million, and the number one DVD/video rental of 2003.
It didnít take a brain surgeon to figure out there would be a sequel. The Bourne Supremacy opened on July 25th to a remarkable $52.5 million for its first weekend. With the DVD about to hit store shelves, Matt Damon spoke with Ultimate DVD about both movies.
With the achievement of both The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy, how do you approach your success?
ďItís weird to talk about my career in terms of success. Right before The Bourne Identity came out I hadnít been offered a movie in a year, because The Legend of Bagger Vance and All the Pretty Horses had come out and bombed. The word on The Bourne Identity was that it was going to tank, because we had pushed back the release date a couple of times. For people who know, thatís always a sign that things arenít going well Ė when in fact Universal had given us more money to go back and re-shoot and pick up a couple of things that we needed, and we were making the movie a lot better, so we were holding the movie for all the right reasons. But the outward signals within the industry were, ĎThis filmís going to suck.í Nobody called and gave me job offers for quite some time, so I went to do a play in London. We closed on Saturday night, Bourne had opened that Friday, I got back to New York on Sunday night, and Monday morning there were something like 30 script offers. So in terms of any success Iíve had, itís always been tenuous. I donít think anyone feels secure. ď
Can you talk about taking on the character and making it your own?
ďIt was a big concern when I took the job the first time, and it was something that Doug Liman, the director of the first movie, and I talked about. He thought it was really daring to cast me as this guy because of the way I look. I look so young and this guy clearly has to have a history, and heís got a very dark past, and people donít look at me and necessarily think that. We just looked at every aspect of how to make this guy as believable as possible. Because the worst thing that could happen would be if you had a good movie, but the central character is just not quite believable and heís constantly taking your audience out of the film. So Doug came up with certain things, like he watched boxing on television and he liked the way boxers walked; there was a directness and efficiency about them, and a kind of security in their bodies that he really liked.Ē
by Judy Sloane