Tony Gilroy was a perfect choice to helm the Bourne franchise in a new direction with The Bourne Legacy. Gilroy admitted that was not anything he expected to add to his resume.
“It’s not something I ever, ever, ever thought I would do -- was not on my bucket list at all,” Gilroy admitted to Movie Fanatic, fresh off his film toppling The Dark Knight Rises box office streak. He wrote the first three in the series and producers felt there was no better person to direct the fourth film that stars Jeremy Renner.
“Actually, I never even thought I’d be writing another Bourne,” Gilroy said and laughed. The screenwriter was looking to tackle directing, and looked to achieve that career goal before he got “too old.”
“I’ve been looking for something to do that was interesting enough, and this started to get really interesting. All of the sudden, this really looked like something that would be fun to do for two years. So it wasn’t a burning desire, it wasn’t something that I ever thought would happen. It’s quite surprising to me.”
One of the most interesting aspects of the film, as we state in our The Bourne Legacy review, is how the film overlaps with The Bourne Ultimatum.
“A lot of very smart people tried to figure out how to go forward after Ultimatum. It was wrapped up so beautifully into such a nice package, by the time everybody had left and the party was kind of over. The first conversation was really like a game. It was really like, 'How could we go forward?'" Gilroy said.
“Then we thought: You know what you could do? You could say that it is only a small piece of this thing. Then we thought, 'God, you know, you could have Ultimatum play in the background of the first 12 to 15 minutes of the movie. That could be a phone call from the other movie to our movie!'"
There also had to be congruency with the look of Gilroy’s film with the previous three.
“Robert Elswit shot this film and we did two other films together. He’s sort of my other super soul brother. We spent a lot of time looking at the previous three films. We had a lot of conversations about how to hue to what had been there before,” Gilroy said.
“I thought we had a pretty legitimate opportunity because we’re saying it’s a much larger world. We’re blowing open the doors on this and we had a much bigger canvas. And we had almost a responsibility, but we had free rein to having a slightly different visual vocabulary for that part of the film.”
The action of the Bourne movies had continually pushed the envelope of the genre. When Gilroy got onboard to direct The Bourne Legacy, he sought to continue the action revolution that started with director Doug Liman in The Bourne Identity in 2002. Clearly he did, as seen in this The Bourne Legacy clip.
“When you get to the action, it really has to have the maximum testosterone and energy that you can. I like knowing where I am in action sequences. I’m a big fan of that. A lot of attention went into that, how can we keep the energy up and orient people? All the conversations and all the anxiety, by the third day of shooting, it was the residue of that we carried with us through the next 100 days.”
Also important was bringing back actors, such as Joan Allen, Scott Glenn and David Strathairn, from the first trilogy to provide another layer of connection.
“It was essential to have them come back, absolutely essential. We even looked to see if there was no way to get Julia Stiles back in, it just didn’t work this way -- she’s off on-the-run,” Gilroy said.
“I think everyone understands why they came back. They came in for a couple days here and there and had some fun, and we couldn’t have done it without them.”