Justin Lin brought new life to the Fast and Furious franchise during his tenure as director. Since his departure after the latest entry, Fast and Furious 6, he's been looking to find some new cinematic ground to cover. He almost had it with his previous involvement in the Terminator franchise. Instead, he'll continue to help revive the Bourne franchise, only with a new writer to help him take things in a fresh direction.
The Hollywood Reporter announced that Lin remains attached to direct the new sequel to The Bourne Legacy, with relative newcomer Andrew Baldwin attached for the film's writing duties. This is a far cry from previous history, where franchise veteran Tony Gilroy wrote and directed the 2012 introduction to Jeremy Renner's Aaron Cross character. Gilroy's double duty may have led to some of the film's more fatal flaws, as he was previously being held in check by director Paul Greengrass, who helped define the series as a blockbuster franchise.
It's nice to see the director/screenwriter check-and-balance back in the Bourne series, as that approach served best with the initial three entries. Despite the fact that Tony Gilroy has pulled off other writer/director projects like Michael Clayton and Duplicity with much aplomb, he just couldn't crack the nut that is the Bourne saga. Andrew Baldwin's only other credits, according to THR, are work on the Logan's Run remake and the original terrorism thriller Bastille Day, so while he's untested, he's certainly got the makings of a Bourne screenwriter, as he's written both about terrorism and people running away from figures of authority who are trying to kill them.
Justin Lin, on the other hand, remains a huge get for the folks at Universal. I absolutely hated the first two Fast and Furious pictures, only to be blown away by Tokyo Drift and all the films following in its wake. The man knows a breath of fresh ass kicking when he sees one, and Fast Five is still a testament to his action film proficiency. If his images can marry themselves properly to Baldwin's prospective scripting abilities, we might be able to blow past The Bourne Legacy after all. Then again, The Bourne Legacy brought the franchise so close to death that it's going to take quite a bit to bring it back. Maybe Dwayne Johnson can sign on as a CIA agent on the trail of Aaron Cross. That works with every franchise, doesn't it?
Then, of course, there's the Matt Damon issue. It seems like the series really should rename itself, as the Bourne story ended with The Bourne Ultimatum. However, Justin Lin would be a fool not to at least try and offer an olive branch and a rundown of what he plans for the series, so as to attempt to bring Mr. Damon on board. It probably won't work, but it'll go a long way with the fans and it just seems like the classy thing to do. Bourne 5 is slated for a Summer 2015 release.
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