RT-UK Exclusive: Paul Greengrass Interview
The director sits down with RT on the set of Bourne Ultimatum
PG: Julia has a big part of this movie. Bourne was alone in the second movie and it?s gonna be difficult to keep him alone. It?s another early call. What do you do with Bourne in the third film? I think essentially Bourne is a character who always does walk alone, so you don?t want to pair him up with anybody. That would be a big mistake but I think that that scene that he and Julia had in the second movie is a really interesting scene and you believe that there?s some untold story there that will be told in this movie.
RT-UK: Have you been listening to the fans on the internet?
PG: What did they say? I haven?t.
RT-UK: They are saying no to a love interest and wondering who the villains are and if Franka Potente will come back!
PG: I?m pretty sure Franka?s not going to appear. I think she?s definitely not going to reappear. (laughs) I don?t think Bourne does love interests, really. He loves marie, doesn?t he? And I think that?s another interesting thing about him ? there?s a certain level of emotional reality. I think it would be wrong if he transferred his affections in a simple way. I think you can complicate his emotions but I don?t think you can transfer them.
RT-UK: It seems like a ready-made trilogy that maybe isn?t designed to go for a fourth movie. If so, would Matt come back? Would it be recast?
PG: Well, it?s become our running joke of the thing. When exactly one or other of us is going to call the other and say ?I went to the casino and I lost all my money! We have to find a fourth Bourne! We have to do it! You?ve gotta do it for me, man!? (laughs) Of course there?s going to be another one. I?m being serious now. I think there?s a natural trilogy and you have to tell the story as a trilogy. And I think it?s imperative that the ideas of the franchise continue. Absolutely imperative for me. And I?m sure Universal will feel the same way, but what I?m saying is it?s not one of those things where I, for different reasons, feel that it?s really important to keep it going. Now, does that mean Matt plays on? Who knows? But for me as the director, I would want to end this trilogy in a way that the values of Jason Bourne continue, are still alive, the little flame of conscience that he represents in this dark world remains alight. What does that mean in terms of his character? Who knows? But I?m perfectly certain that I do not want to end this movie in either one of two ways. One: that the torch is extinguished, because then what would be the point of following this character all that way through three movies, for no purpose? Equally, it of course would be absurd to think that Jason Bourne can solve all the problems of the world, because then it becomes a comic book, then it becomes Superman or what a superhero might be. And he?s not. I think much the most interesting territory is the territory that we?re in which is, if you?re oppositional and you?re part of the underground, you?re part of the resistance in a bad world, then your ideas and your identity can spread.
RT-UK: Thought you said it wasn?t political.
PG: No, it?s not a political film. It?s not a political film in any form. It?s not. What I?m saying is that any film, if it?s a franchise movie, has to work out the underlying logic of the drama and the world that it?s set in. Bourne is the drama of an outsider on the world. The profound difference between Bourne and Bond is?well, they?re both characters, they?re both Cold War literary constructs. They both have the same initials, they?re both secret agents but that?s where it stops. Because from then on they?re completely different. Because Bond is an insider who likes being a secret agent, who likes the system, who glamourises it all. It?s all about imperialistic, misogynistic values in my view, speaking as a Brit, going down the casino, drinking a Campari and soda, ogling all the girls in the bikinis and killing a lot of people. And he?s got a lot of technological wizardry and that?s it.
You look at Jason Bourne and there?s a whole different set of values that underpin that character. He is outside the system. He?s not anti-Bond. He?s anti-?the system?. It?s a totally different thing. He?s on the run and his perception is that the entire system of secret agents, power, all that stuff is a desperately corrupt system and he?s on the run from it, trying to stop them killing him and trying to find some answers. And he rejects killing. He rejects all that, his entire value system is, in my view, positive. Could you imagine Jason Bourne looking at a woman in a bikini? His drive is profound and the only thing that?s interesting about Bond is when he?s amoral. I believe in those values and that?s why I make the Bourne films in the first place, because I want those values to triumph, of course. But they?re never going to, but I certainly don?t want them to lose.