Tony Gilroy on ‘The Bourne Legacy’ and how it Differs from What Came Before

WRITER’S NOTE: As the opening paragraph indicates, this article was written over a decade ago.

Writer/Director Tony Gilroy and actor Jeremy Renner dropped by the AMC movie theater in Century City on July 9, 2012 to answer questions regarding their upcoming summer blockbuster, “The Bourne Legacy.” The emcee of this Q&A was Dan Gilroy, Tony’s brother, who also co-wrote the screenplay for it. The film itself was not shown that evening, and the audience had to settle for its latest trailer instead, but people were allowed to ask questions about how it will differ from the “Bourne” films which came before it.

This event was presented over the internet live as well as in front of a live audience, so questions came from all over the world as well as Century City. One question came from a guy named Jose on Facebook who asked how “The Bourne Legacy” will differentiate itself from the previous three films. To this, Tony said:

“If you’ve been a casual observer of the films before, it will have an extra bit of boost. If you’re a freak, if you’re a real fan, there’s a lot of stuff that’s in there that’s designed to pay back people who have really been paying attention.”

Catherine, who submitted her question through Twitter, asked, “what does Aaron Cross bring to the Bourne franchise that makes it different from the previous movies?” Tony’s response to this was very descriptive:

“What we’re saying in this film is that there were many programs. The Treadstone program, that Jason was a part of, was an early program that was shopped out to the CIA. The program that Jeremy is in is called Outcome. The Outcome agents are not designed as assassins; they are long lead isolated people who bury down into places. So, the skill set is slightly different, and there’s an adaptive quality, there’s a verbal quality, and there’s a curiosity that we really shine on for the Outcome agents that we meet. In ‘badassery,’ the physical aspects of a lot of this are very familiar; he is a cousin to Jason Bourne in that regard. But the job is different, the design is different, and the flaws are very different. The things that go wrong are very different.”

Dan himself said, as one of the writers of this screenplay, that he was especially interested in the conspiracy side, and he asked his brother Tony how it differs from the franchise:

“Well, this time we’re pulling back (the curtain). We’re saying that what you saw before was a small piece; you watched the other three films and thought that that was the entire universe. It turns out now when we pull back the curtain that there has been a mastermind behind the entire program and these other programs, and that’s Edward Norton. In a way he’s been sitting beside you in the theater for the last 12 years watching this all go on, wondering if it’s going to cause larger problems for him and getting irritated as (“The Bourne) Ultimatum” explodes.”

Many fans of the Jason Bourne movies have been arguing loudly about the series continuing on minus Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass, but Tony Gilroy has made it clear how he made “The Bourne Legacy” with them in mind. It sounds like he has put together an exciting movie which audiences will get a kick out of, and I for one cannot wait to see it.


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