Universal Hires New Writer for ‘Bourne 4’

Universal has hired a new writer for the fourth Bourne movie. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Josh Zetumer, also at work on the Peter Berg-directed Dune remake, is stepping in to take a shot at a fresh storyline for the series now that George Nolfi has stepped away from the project.

Nolfi was working on Bourne 4 but is also on another Matt Damon vehicle, The Adjustment Bureau, which he will direct. That film is gearing up for a September start date and thus Nolfi had to back off from Bourne.

Rather than wait for Nolfi to finish Bureau and return to the script, Universal brought in Zetumer to write a completely different screenplay — or parallel script. The studio is keen to have Bourne as part of its 2011 slate.

However, Universal still hopes that Nolfi will finish his screenplay in due course. The question then becomes how Universal will proceed: A combination of the scripts? Could one be used for Bourne 4 and one shelved for a fifth go-round?

Writing two scripts, though rare, is not without precedent in the tentpole-movie world. THR notes that Star Trek: GenerationsFantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Wolverine are movies that had parallel scripts commissioned and sometimes had them combined.

Earlier this week, The Playlist tracked the progress of Bourne 4 from Universal’s announcement in February last year that director Paul Greengrass and star Damon were on board for the next installment through to comments Damon made to Entertainment Weekly in the current issue.

In the issue, Damon says, “We’re hoping to make a fourth, but we don’t have a story and we don’t have a script. I assume it can happen, but we have to come up with a storyline that’s deserving. I mean, if you see the Bourne character come out again and say, ‘I can’t remember,’ you’re going to get up and leave the theater. It’s like, ‘Get over it, buddy — it’s been three movies. What the f***?!’ ”

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