Matt Damon Says The Bourne Ultimatum was a Miserable Experience

When it comes to extremely creative people, it’s not uncommon to find that some of them have a serious problem with organization and planning. Obviously plenty of uncreative people are disorganized as well, but I think it’s just one of those biological left-brain/right-brain things. It’s definitely something you see frequently in the movie industry, with some of the most brilliant directors constantly finding themselves in the middle of troubled productions (just ask Terry Gilliam), and apparently the latest installment of the Bourne series was a little bit like this as well. Now I’m not saying Paul Greengrass is one of those disorganized people… but, well, apparently Matt Damon is. In an intriguing interview with Entertainment Weekly, Damon reveals that the production of The Bourne Ultimatum was a pretty big mess, and that frankly he’s amazed that a good movie actually came out of the whole thing.

“There was an aimlessness to the process… It was miserable. There were days when we would find ourselves in the middle of a scene and realize, ‘This isn’t in the movie!’. This movie was 140 shooting days, which is the longest movie I’ve ever been on. There wasn’t a single day where we didn’t have new pages! In any given scene I didn’t know where I’d just come from or where I was going. Which, as an actor, you kind of need! And Paul’s only direction was ”Butch-er and more intense!” Finally I was like, ”If you give me the f—ing ‘butch-er and more intense’ note one more time, I’m gonna kick your ass!” It’s incredible that we’ve been able to pull the rabbit out of the hat three times.”

Ironically, the director of The Bourne Identity, Doug Liman, had an even more chaotic style, which is why he wasn’t asked back for the first sequel. I find it pretty fascinating to think that these movies really came together in the editing room, because watching them on screen, they’re extremely tight. The Bourne Ultimatum especially… in my mind I was thinking how complicated it must have been to set up the cell phone crowd scene, but it sounds like it was more of an organic thing. Anyway, check out the interview, it’s definitely an interesting read. Damon has said before that he won’t do another sequel, but I wonder if he’s reconsidering now that the movie ended up being so successful.

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  • Apparently RoboCop was a grueling hellish experience to make as well, but it still turned out awesome.

    They do get paid a significant amount of money though… There are worse things than only having 2 hours to memorize a page of dialogue. But I guess when you’re in the world you’re just comparing to your usual experiences.