Paul Greengrass says Bourne movies were a 'wake-up call' for James Bond

Tom Beasley
Paul Greengrass poses for photographers after receiving the BFI Fellowship award at the London Film Festival Awards in 2017. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Jason Bourne director Paul Greengrass has said the movies were a “wake-up call” for the James Bond franchise.

The filmmaker, who helmed The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum and 2016’s Jason Bourne, told Empire that 007 has “responded well” to the challenge posed by the Bourne films.

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Greengrass was asked by the magazine about previous comments in which he had referred to the Bond character as “an imperialist right-wing f***face”.

He said: “I was obviously quite young and brash in those days.”

The 64-year-old director said he believed the Bourne movies had a huge influence on Bond, which went from the invisible cars of Die Another Day to the more grounded grit of Casino Royale after Bourne arrived.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) prepares to shoot in NO TIME TO DIE. (Credit: Nicola Dove. © 2019 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM)

Greengrass added: “It’s interesting that when Jason Bourne came on the scene, I think it was a bit of a wake-up call for James Bond.

“But my word, how well they’ve responded since. So fair play to them – they shoved my comments down my throat.”

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While James Bond is set to continue with No Time to Die later this year, marking Daniel Craig’s final adventure as Ian Fleming’s spy, Bourne’s future is uncertain.

Producer Ben Smith has suggested that another Bourne movie is being developed, with ties to the spin-off TV series Treadstone, which aired on the USA Network last year and was subsequently cancelled after just one season.

Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in 'The Bourne Supremacy'. (Credit: Universal)

Greengrass, meanwhile, has several projects in the pipeline, including Tom Hanks western News of the World — which will be released in December — and an adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984.

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The four movies in the Bourne franchise, starring Matt Damon and adapted from Robert Ludlum’s novels, have grossed more than $1.5bn (£1.2bn) worldwide and had a noticeable influence on the action genre.

Particular praise has been given to Greengrass’s gritty approach to stunts and his use of shaky cam during intense close combat scenes.