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The narrative architect behind the ‘Bourne’ film series, Tony Gilroy, takes the helm in the next chapter of the hugely popular espionage franchise that has earned almost $1 billion at the global box office: ‘The Bourne Legacy’. Building on the foundation of the Bourne universe created by Robert Ludlum, the writer/director expands the saga with an original story that reveals a larger conspiracy.
Twelve years ago, audiences were introduced to Jason Bourne when he was pulled unconscious from the Mediterranean. Over the course of three films, they followed his journey to survive and discover his identity. They watched his CIA handlers mount an increasingly desperate worldwide manhunt.
They learned about the Treadstone program and Bourne’s special skills and abilities, and at the trilogy’s conclusion, they may have even felt the story was complete. ‘The Bourne Legacy’ pulls back the curtain to expose a darker layer of intrigue, a deeper mythology, and a new hero who must battle to stay alive when his program suddenly becomes a liability.
‘The Bourne Legacy’ is exactly that—the legacy— the aftermath—of what’s come before. Bourne’s public exposure at the end of ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ sparks a bonfire that threatens to burn down decades of research and development into the building of better spies and warriors. Audiences will discover that there are actually a variety of intelligence programs, that the CIA’s Treadstone was but one of the early developments and that Bourne’s actions are creating a tremendous anxiety that other programs may be exposed.
Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner of ‘The Hurt Locker’, ‘The Town’, ‘The Avengers’, ‘Mission: Impossible— Ghost Protocol’) is one of six agents in a program called Outcome. Unlike the CIA’s Treadstone, Outcome agents have been developed and trained for use by the Department of Defense. More than assassins, Outcome agents are designed for use in isolated, high-risk, long-term intelligence assignments.
The behavioral science that was suggested as the underpinning of the Treadstone agents has been upgraded and advanced, but it’s the shared origins of these two programs that makes Outcome so vulnerable as Bourne’s story becomes public knowledge.
Edward Norton (‘The Illusionist’, ‘The Incredible Hulk’) plays ret. Colonel Eric Byer, the director of a black-line agency, NRAG (National Research Assay Group), at the heart of the Bourne universe. Byer is the man who’s built these programs, fought to keep them funded and shopped them to a variety of eager U.S. intelligence services in the vast, post-9/11 espionocracy. Pulling back the curtain, we realize he’s been there all the while, watching as the three previous films have played out.
It’s Byer’s world that’s being threatened as the CIA fails to contain Bourne and, with the realization that Treadstone’s fall will expose the close working relationship between two of his chief medical directors, Byer has no choice but to sacrifice Outcome. That means eliminating everyone involved, including the science and medical researchers who helped to create it. He must now bring to bear every resource possible and erase the infected program to preserve the rest of his work.
‘The Bourne Legacy’ is premiering in New York City on July 30, 2012.