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THE BOURNE IDENTITY

About The Production
One of the most popular and durable of motion picture genres, the espionage thriller gets a fresh and altogether contemporary approach in Universal Pictures' The Bourne Identity. Director Doug Liman, acclaimed for his edgy signature films, Swingers and Go, infuses Robert Ludlum's 1980 espionage yarn with an unconventional sensibility, and presents Academy Award® winner Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Ocean's Eleven) as a new breed of spy movie hero.

Filmed entirely overseas, in locations including Prague, Paris and Italy, The Bourne Identity boasts a potent international cast headed by Franke Potente (Run Lola Run), Chris Cooper (American Beauty, October Sky), Brian Cox (Manhunter, L.I.E), Clive Owen Gosford Park) and Adewale Akinnuoye Agbaje (The Mummy Returns). The screenplay was written by Tony Gilroy and William Blake Herron.

The film's production team includes producers Liman, Patrick Crowley (Charlie's Angels 2) and Richard N. Gladstein (The Cider House Rules), along with executive producers Frank Marshall, who is responsible for some of Hollywood's most successful films, including Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Sixth Sense, as well as original author Robert Ludlum, who died last year.

Responsible for achieving the filmmakers' decidedly non-traditional vision were director of photography Oliver Wood (U-5 71, Face/Off), production designer Dan Weil (The Professional, The Fifth Element), costume designer Pierre-Yves Gayraud (Indochine, East-West), Oscar®-nominated editor Saar Klein (The Thin Red Line, Almost Famous) and composer John Powell (Shrek, I Am Sam).

A great deal of the world is already familiar with Jason Bourne, the enigmatic hero of three best-sellers by Robert Ludlum. Until his death shortly after the end of production of The Bourne Identity, Ludlum was one of the world's most popular writers. He wrote The Bourne Identity while the Cold War was raging and the real-life international terrorist Carlos - a major character in the original novel - was cutting a bloody swath across Europe. Two decades later, Liman faced the task - with Ludlum's blessing - of preserving the spirit of that novel while placing Bourne and his struggle in a context that would speak to a new generation.

‘The Bourne Identity is a really good story, and that's what I look for in anything that I do," said Liman, who as a new pilot, made his first solo cross-country flight to Ludlum's residence in Glacier National Park to secure the rights to the novel. "It was a very dramatic arrival, coming in over the Tetons," he continued. "It inspired Mr. Ludlum to give me the nickname ‘Hollywood' which is ironic because I'm a New Yorker."

After securing the rights, Liman set the project up at Universal. "I chose to work with Universal because it was just as important to them as it was to me to make this a character-driven movie and not just a generic action movie," the director emphasized. "They had a proven track record of taking chances in the pursuit of making better films."

Liman wanted to create a spy film for his generation. "Most of the spy films I've seen have had nothing in common with anyone I've ever known," he observed. "I've spent time in Washington D.C. through my father's work on Iran-Contra and I've seen real spies in action."

Liman and his collaborators knew that the originality of their interpretation - which lowered Bourne's age by some 10 years - demanded a star with finely honed acting skills and physical prowess to match. Matt Damon was the first name to spring to mind, and the actor was game.

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