Matt Damon Not In Talks For Jason Bourne IV

Universal denies rumours of a return

UPDATE: Universal has moved quickly to scotch Matt Damon's rumoured return to Jason Bourne duties. Variety reports that the studio had denied that Damon and director Paul Greengrass are in talks to return to the franchise.

Despite the character's best efforts, Jason Bourne is a story that refuses to go away. With a tenacity Pam Landy would be proud of, Universal has refused to give up on the idea of coaxing Matt Damon to reprise the role, and Twitch is reporting that the scenario is a step closer to reality. Both Damon and his Bourne director of choice, Paul Greengrass, are said to be in talks to return for a fourth instalment.

Bear in mind this is one of those stories with a question mark at the end, so it's speculative, and Jeremy Renner's spook Aaron Cross and his Bourne Legacy director Tony Gilroy have been left out of this equation altogether. It does, however, tally with the idea of a crossing of the streams for Cross and Bourne. “My dream is that in the next one we see Matt and Jeremy team up", producer Frank Marshall spitballed last year, and Legacy was assiduous in reminding us that Jason Bourne is still out there, somewhere.

Bourne V is already underway, with Invictus writer Anthony Peckham on script duties and Gilroy likely to step away from the franchise after four outings, but with no director confirmed, there's scope for Greengrass to return if he can bury the hatchet with the studio.

The big question is how attractive Damon would find the prospect. Greengrass is the sine qua non of the negotiation: no Greengrass, no Damon; no Damon... well, Bourne Legacy did a modest $276 million, so a shot in the arm would certainly be handy at this stage.

Elysium shows that a more seasoned Damon can still sell the action beats, even if he's probably lost of yard of pace when it comes to rooftop running and he'll have to learn to neutralise people with a Kindle or iPad.

Watch this space for more as we get it. Greengrass's next, Captain Phillips, is out on October 18.