With “The Adjustment Bureau” hitting theaters next week, we sat down to talk to first-time director (and writer) George Nolfi just very recently. Nolfi, who wrote “The Sentinel” and the rather gonzo, “Ocean’s Twelve,” endeared himself to Universal executives by working on the script for the “Bourne Ultimatum” movie, but was also contracted to write a fourth film featuring Matt Damon‘s return as Jason Bourne, only for director Paul Greengrass to bail on the project entirely and the studio to eventually opt for “The Bourne Legacy” as the next adventure in that cinematic universe.
When asked about why the film didn’t go forward, Nolfi was frank. “It was not a surprise because I know Paul Greengrass well, I know Matt well, I know Universal well at this point, I know the producer well at this point,” he said. “[The message always] sort of like, Matt and Paul may be willing to do it for us, they may not, and there are all kinds of reasons completely dependent on the script and story for why that would be, which I’ll let them speak about. Not the least of which, they had just shot ‘Ultimatum,’ and it was an incredibly hard shoot, and they had just done ‘Green Zone,’ and to go and do a fourth one right away, it’s like, they wanted to do other things with their life.”
Nolfi’s script was not based on any of the “Bourne” books, but Tony Gilroy‘s “The Bourne Legacy” is said to borrow liberally from some of the late Robert Ludlum‘s work. But Nolfi sounds done with the “Bourne” universe. When asked if he would return to direct, he said, “Probably not because I feel like it’s Paul and Matt’s thing. It totally makes sense that if they do one that doesn’t have Matt and it goes off into another direction that it be Tony [Gilroy], because Tony really cracked the book, and he was the first writer in on all three of the Bourne scripts. He’s sort of the keeper of the initial flame, even before Matt Damon got onto it. It’s not really my thing, and there are plenty of other things I want to direct.”
We tried to milk him for details on the 4th ‘Bourne’ script he had penned, but the writer/director was fairly tight-lipped, noting that the work still resides at Universal. “I would say ‘never say never’ just because they don’t want to do it now,” he said, hinting that portions of his material could show up in a future movie. “The movie that the studio is making, that Tony Gilroy is making, doesn’t preclude another Matt Damon–Greengrass Bourne.”