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The Bourne Identity in our magazines

THE MOVIE: The Bourne Identity

Matt Damon • Franka Potente • with Chris Cooper •
PRODUCER: Frank Marshall
DIRECTOR: Doug Liman

Jason Bourne (Damon) asks Marie Kreutz (Potente) for a ride to Paris in The Bourne Identity. THE CONCEPT:
The movie version of Robert Ludlum’s 1980 espionage tale that spotlights an amnesiac (Matt Damon). Jason Bourne is rescued at sea by a crew of a fishing boat with bullets in his back, a Swiss bank account number embedded in his hip, and an array of talents which hint of a dangerous past life.

U.S. RELEASE: June 14 2002, national • Rated: PG-13


DOUG LIMAN on his father, who was an Iran-Contra investigator:
“My father’s experience with the Iran-Contra affair had an enormous impact on the development of The Bourne Identity, because I was so fascinated by the reality of the spy community and the exploits of Oliver North. He was waving the flag and getting things done by bypassing the bureaucracy of the United States government. He was very much the inspiration for Chris Cooper’s character.”

“Matt was everybody’s first choice for the role of Jason Bourne. That was based on what Doug saw as the character and Matt identified with. I think it really works in the movie because it’s so believable. This guy looks like a nice guy.”

“From the book the definition of the character is somebody who seems so nice, charming and inviting but has these violent tendencies.”

“The scariest stunt I did in the film was hanging from a building – that was genuinely terrifying, although I really trusted the guy that was belaying me, he was a rock climber. I knew once I got onto the side of the wall I was going to have to eventually let go. It was seven in the morning, twenty below zero in Prague – I was exhausted, freezing and scared. It’s probably the most scared I’ve ever been on a movie set, because I have a fear of heights.”

FRANKA POTENTE (Marie Kreutz):
“There were things in the script that I didn’t like, and I talked about them and they changed them. I never wanted the classic, clichéd girl in an action thriller who is scared and clinging to the hero’s breast.”

“We wanted to approach the action scenes a little dirty. When the Mini car goes onto the sidewalk it hits the wall – Matt doesn’t do the move perfectly. And he gets hit in the fights, he doesn’t block every single punch.”

“There’s nothing worse than coming out of a movie and feeling like it was mediocre, and there was nothing that interested or surprised you. I think that’s what the average action film is, but I don’t feel that way about all action films. It’s tough to find a movie that is unique for that genre. There tend to be movies that come along every ten years that define the genre like Die Hard. I also loved The Matrix – I thought it was really inventive and unique.”

“We set very high standards for ourselves not wanting it to just be an action movie. We really wanted to make sure on a character level it was a solid movie and the action aided in the character development, and wasn’t gratuitous.”

“Sometimes you meet somebody and they present themselves as really nice and cool and you think, ‘We’re going to have a good time;’ but after two or three stressful weeks (the façade) drops. The most interesting people are the ones who endure what they establish, and Matt is definitely that person. I don’t need an entertainer on the set for three months – I really like that Matt was relaxed and helpful.”

MATT DAMON on competing with Ben Affleck’s movie The Sum of All Fears (which opened May 31):
“Both Ben and I are pulling for each other. Neither success depends on the other’s failure, so I think we’re both keeping our fingers crossed. They are very different projects.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official The Bourne Identity site
Images above © Universal Studios (pic: Egon Endrenyi)
Feature © 2002 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #619, Summer 2002 cover

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Film Review, Superpowered 2002 cover

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