Bourne Legacy Director Tony Gilroy Casts Wide Net to Find Bourne 2.0

It says something about the black-diamond level of difficulty director Tony Gilroy faces in casting a lead actor in the Matt Damon/Paul Greengrass-less next installment the Bourne franchise. All week, the steady stream of names flowing over the transom reads like a list of Hollywood's most eligible young studs. The first batch of contenders, courtesy of Variety, was an eclectic group representing a wide range of age and experience: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, Garrett Hedlund, and Taylor Kitsch. Next came Deadline's panoramic portrait of actors competing for the role -- Paul Dano, Michael Fassbender, Michael Pitt, Oscar Isaac, Alex Pettyfer, Luke Evans, Joel Edgerton, and Josh Hartnett -- which seems to indicate that Gilroy is far from narrowing the field and still hasn't found what he's looking for.

Even though none of these actors will be playing Jason Bourne (the film is said to focus on another secret agent within the same agency), Matt Damon is a tough act to follow, especially when it comes to bringing the tortured determination and hard-earned mastery necessary to anchor the Bourne franchise. He earned Oscar nominations for the tormented perfectionists he played in "Good Will Hunting" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley." And he's turned in a slew of overlooked Oscar-caliber performances in the years since. Oh, and  he also happened to reinvent the action hero for the post-9/11 world.

So the prospect of making a Bourne film without him is a daunting one at best. Gilroy, the screenwriter-turned-auteur who adapted "Bourne Supremacy" and "Bourne Ultimatum" before moving into the director's chair, is facing an especially tall order in finding a leading man who measures up to the precedent Damon set in the first three films of the franchise based on Robert Ludlum's series of books. Given our druthers, our dream casting for this role would be Clive Owen, who brings the right combination of menace, maturity, and mystery to set the role apart from other more heroic studs like James Bond, Jack Ryan, and Mission Impossible's Ethan Hunt.

Of the group listed above, we're partial to Michael Fassbender. And not to be unkind, but frankly the rest of the lot doesn't seem up to the task. Gyllenhaal can be a decent actor, but he's not a man you'd ever fear could kill you with a pencil. Maguire still hasn't sufficiently shaken Spidey from his big-screen persona. The rest look like they belong at the kids' table.

So now it's time for you to weigh in: Who do you think has the true grit necessary to play Bourne's heir apparent?

  • Diane

    How about the Brit actor Richard Armitage who plays the spook on series MI-5, as well as the mysterious complex character in BBC mini-series production North and South. He is the dark brooding just on the verge of exploding type. He has eyes that hide as much as they reveal; a Gaelic romanesque handsomeness and a quiet but potentially lethal persona round out the picture. I have gotten hooked on his portrayal of the recently released from prison - MI-5 agent. His eyes and face and body have an edginess to them that trumps Matt Damon's Jason Bourne by a mile.

  • d

    well where is Cillian Murphey? Where is Ewan McGregor? oh, does it have to be an American? So, Josh Brolin for crying out loud.

  • Jon

    Clive Owen was killed by Bourne in the first movie.

  • Phenise

    You should consider Karl Urban, an excellent actor, plays various roles, good and bad guy! Good looking, physically fit for all the endurance the role has, and I'm confident he can DELIVER!

  • HoneyBakedHam

    Paul Dano is an amazing actor... but he's just not the super secret agent type. Maybe he's the super secret agent's nerdy friend from tech support.

    But Jake Gyllenhaal is a far better actor than Prince Of Persia would lead one to believe, and if the writing and production value are on par with the original three films, that would be a great franchise for him to upgrade to.

  • deb

    don't one can replace Matt Damon in this...let it rest & let us enjoy the memories of awesome performance....don't turn it into another batman sega....just sayin

  • Matt Damons owns Bourne... the same way as Tom Cruise for Mission Impossible... Period. So, please don't change characters... =)

  • urboypharry

    Michael Fassbender all day! Prison Break, Fable III, Centurion, Inglourious Basterds! You kidding me....(as Charlie Sheen would say)....WINNER!

  • Stu

    Has no one listened to what Tony Gilroy has said? He is not trying to replace Matt Damon with anybody!! The character Jason Bourne wants to be left alone. Tony Gilroy is not stupid. He has been their from the beginning, through the entire Trilogy. He wants to make a movie, and send the story in a direction that will draw Matt Damon back into the mix to do the 5th and maybe even a 6th Bourne movie!!
    Tony Gilroy understands that there aspects of the character that have not been explored in the first 3 Bourne films. As far as plot goes for the Bourne Legacy, Tony Gilroy and his brother will come up with an interesting direction for the story. He is trying to get Pamela Landy back, and Dr. Hirsch. I believe the thing (talking storyline/plot here) the thing that would bring Jason Bourne out of hiding would be if something were happening to Pamela Landy!! She is the one whom revealed his identity to him to a degree, they each joined the Intelligence community for the same reason(s). He is indebted to her.
    If U disagree, that's fine!! But think about it...