Earlier this week, Universal announced director Paul Greengrass [PGREE] will not return for the fourth Bourne film [BORN4] and went the extraordinary step of including an amicable statement from the director. However, there is no doubt friction developed behind the scenes as the cost of the long delayed, Iraq-set thriller Green Zone [GREZN] spiraled over $100 million. Universal commissioned two scripts for Bourne 4, one by George Nolfi, and another by Joshua Zetumer, but neither proved satisfactory. Nolfi is currently directing Damon in The Adjustment Bureau [ADJBU] and could return to work on the Bourne sequel. Tony Gilroy, a credited screenwriter on all three previous Bourne films who made his directorial debut with Duplicity, is another possibility. Doug Liman [DLIMA], who directed the first film The Bourne Identity, could also be brought back. If Universal is looking for a fresh eye, there is no hotter talent than Pierre Morel [PMORE], the director of the best Bourne-like thriller not called Bourne, Taken. Then there is another director currently looking for a job, one who had been interested in starting his own spy franchise with Matt Helm [UHELM].
Variety reported Steven Spielberg [SSPIE] has withdrawn from Harvey [HARVY] which was expected to be his next directorial effort. Spielberg came abroad the remake in August, but could not find the right actor to reprise the role made famous by Jimmy Stewart in the 1950 original film. Spielberg has an open schedule since finishing shooting the performance capture portion of The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn [TINTN]. The film is in post-production at the hands of WETA, which will take two years to finish the CG animation. Potential projects include the long-in-delopment Lincoln biopic [ABE], the Sci-Fi Interstellar [NTSTL] or the family adventure The 39th Clue [39CLU]. Thankfully, the proposed Oldboy [OLDBO] remake with Will Smith fell apart.
Speaking of WETA, Peter Jackson [PJACK] announced that even though he has finished the screenplay to The Hobbit: Part I [HOBIT], production will not begin until Summer of 2010 at the earliest. An executive close to the film tells The Wrap, "While it is still possible that it could come out in December 2011, it looks more likely to be 2012." A decision will not be made until the screenplay for The Hobbit: Part II [HOBT2] is completed and the entire production scheduled and budgeted. The two films will be directed back-to-back by Guillermo del Toro [GDELT].
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