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Matt Damon: Back to Bourne

July 28, 2016

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By: Lynn Barker

Since Matt Damon and buddy Ben Affleck first entered Hollywood and won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting, we’ve followed this interesting duo of pals. Matt’s acting career started out with comedy and family movie roles then with the first movie about reluctant spy Jason Bourne (The Bourne Identity in 2002), he moved up to dramatic leading man parts like his recent turn in The Martian. Matt now often stars as an action hero.

Bourne about to make another great escapeBourne about to make another great escapeCourtesy of Universal Studios

After a few more Bourne movies, Damon was happy to come back in this year’s Jason Bourne in which the spy learns much more about his true identity and also fights an old nemesis while facing just how much has changed in the internet world since he was active. Now the CIA wants to keep tabs on our every move, invading our privacy. Can Jason help stop this from happening? Check out what Matt has to say.

An exhausted Bourne tries to stay aliveAn exhausted Bourne tries to stay aliveCourtesy of Universal Studios

Q: It’s been nine years since we’ve seen Jason Bourne on screen, is this a great time for the very relevant story?

  • Matt: Definitely. We always want these movies to feel like they’re ripped right from the headlines and one of the things we said a decade ago when we were doing the last one was “If enough time passes, maybe if ten years goes by, the world will change enough and we’ll want to see Jason Bourne run through the new world” and when we sat down in 2014 and looked at what was different from 2007, it was just mind-boggling how things have changed. 2007 was before these social media companies became what they are. It’s a new world and the technology is changing us so rapidly that it made us feel like “Okay, we’ve got a new world to run Jason through”.

Bourne (Matt) meets with cyber expert HeatherBourne (Matt) meets with cyber expert HeatherCourtesy of Universal Studios

Q:Jason is pretty much at the worst place we’ve ever seen him when the movie opens. What’s his state of mind and where has he been?

  • Matt: The last movie, The Bourne Ultimatum has a really upbeat, happy ending. He kind of swims away and is liberated from this identity but we knew if we were going to do this movie we basically had to buy into the proposition that five minutes after he swam away, things started going horribly wrong and he can’t escape the things that he’s done and he’s haunted and tortured. So, we are assuming he’s had a pretty dark decade and he’s still on the run but he’s living on the margins and surviving and he’s running out of road.
  • This story is about Bourne getting to the root of his identity essentially, of really understanding how he came to be Jason Bourne. It goes back into his past. He essentially gets all the answers to that original question of identity.

Alicia Vikander as Heather with Tommy Lee Jones CIA Director DeweyAlicia Vikander as Heather with Tommy Lee Jones CIA Director DeweyCourtesy of Universal Studios

Q: Can you talk about what cool actress Alicia Vikander brings to the role of CIA cyber expert Heather Lee?

  • Matt: Alicia brings a whole element of youth to the movie. This whole concept of cyber as the fourth arena of warfare is very much in the public consciousness. (We worry about) our civil liberties and to what extent people are keeping tabs on us and on our digital life so Bourne finds himself in this new world. Heather Lee (Alicia’s character) is an expert in that cyber world and Bourne quickly finds himself in this new world and matched against her; somebody who has a skillset that he isn’t as familiar with.

Heather (Alicia Vikander) keeps tabs on BourneHeather (Alicia Vikander) keeps tabs on BourneCourtesy of Universal Studios

Q: You spent almost two months in Las Vegas at the beginning of the year shooting the most amazing car chase ever! Can you talk about all they let you shoot on the strip?

  • Matt: I can’t believe they let us do that. When (director) Paul (Greengrass) first pitched this idea to me that we were going to do this giant car chase on the strip I was like “You’re from England. You don’t understand what that means. They’ll never shut it down. It would be like shutting down Times Square. It’s one of the most iconic boulevards in America” but everyone in the city was great. They wanted it to happen and we figured out a way to logistically get it done. The people here were really patient with us. We were blocking up traffic for a month and a half or so at night. It was an all hands on deck effort.
  • This chase is definitely on another level. In the last movie The Bourne Ultimatum. I remember standing in the middle of 6th Avenue (in New York) because we shut down a couple of blocks of 6th Avenue and I remember thinking “This is totally insane”, having lived in New York for a long time. But standing in the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard, it’s massive. I can’t wrap my brain around the scale of what we’re doing but hopefully that’s what people are going to want in the 3rd act,  something bigger than we’ve done.

Matt with director Greengrass on setMatt with director Greengrass on setCourtesy of Universal Studios

Q: An old enemy of Bourne’s is back in this film and after him again. The two men have a really amazing fight. Talk about that.

  • Matt: It’s got to be the mother of all fights. It’s ostensibly the last two guys and we’re very lucky to have Vincent (Cassel playing the hitman after Bourne) because he actually is a proper martial artist. It’s going to be a fight where both men are already injured. They are very highly trained but, at the same time, they’re both desperate. The choreography is awesome. It’s a punishing fight but I think what the audience wants to see.

Vincent Cassel plays the killer after BourneVincent Cassel plays the killer after BourneCourtesy of Universal Studios

Q: With the Jason Bourne character so long a part of your life, what does it mean to you to come back to this?

  • Matt: When I think about this character, I’m just incredibly grateful that it came my way that (director) Doug Liman, before anybody, just saw that I could do this. I had never done anything close to an action movie before The Bourne Identity and it was really Doug who believed in me and gave me the chance and the impact on my career and on my life is really incalculable. The whole trajectory of my career changed when this role came into my life.

Jason Bourne PosterJason Bourne PosterCourtesy of Universal Studios

Jason Bourne is in theaters July 29th!

 

Have Your Say

Are you a Matt Damon fan? Love action movies? Seen the Bourne films on DVD? Lay down your comment below.