Published On: Sun, Dec 15th, 2013

Director Paul Greengrass talks ‘Captain Phillips’ ‘United 93’ and never making another ‘Bourne’ film

History and espionage dominant the resume of director Paul Greengrass and Deadline caught up with him in a Dec. 13 interview to discuss this year’s film Captain Phillips and many other projects.

Greengrass first addresses why the Somali attack on a ship was worthy of adapting to the big screen.

Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass on the set of "The Bourne Ultimatum"

Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass on the set of “The Bourne Ultimatum”

“There’s got to be something about the story that’s both accurately clear and dramatic, but also layered and complex.  That was the case here and on United 93. What was clear about both: these were siege/hostage crises that turned into tense, dramatic events with clear, compelling characters. But there was a broader more complex landscape. Why do young men become pirates, these vagabonds with AK-47s who are prepared to defy the might of the U.S. Navy? It was enough to ask, what does this event mean? It’s layered and complex and it goes to where we are today. I felt that way about United 93 and Bloody Sunday. You make the film as authentically as you know how, and if you make judgments with a spirit of open-mindedness, complexities emerge. These traumatic series of events seem to speak to the way we are.”

The Somali in the film were first time actors and were kept away from Tom Hanks, with great purpose and design.

From day one, they were saying, when can we meet Tom Hanks? I said, not until you go through that door and take that ship. They were disappointed, but my great anxiety was this: the movie is a study of two captains, two very contrasting figures. One is captain of a large container ship from our world, the other a lawless vagabond from another world. I didn’t want Barkhad to be thinking, that’s Tom Hanks. Or even worse, that’s my friend Tom Hanks. I wanted him to have one thought only. When you go through that door, you have to scare, terrorize and seize control of that bridge. Barkhad came up with that brilliant line, ‘I’m the captain now,’ and it came from that challenge that he had to take charge.”

Finally Greengrass explains his exit from the Bourne franchise and not wanting to return.

In the end I felt I had given it my all in two films I’m very proud of and didn’t want to make another if I didn’t believe it could be as good if not better. The problem with franchise films is, if you do one too many that is not good, you’ve ruined the whole thing for yourself. I couldn’t come up with an idea, and the business reality of franchises is that when a studio has a Bourne, they’re obliged to make one every couple of years. I discovered in my heart I didn’t have another one in me. I would be going through the motions and I could never do that. On the first two Bourne films, I gave 1000 percent commitment. I was full of new ideas when I came in and took over, I knew there were things I could do and had a vision. The best thing was to move on, have someone else come in and make their mark on it.”

Greengrass elaborates on Captain Phillips and gives a very interesting interview – check it out HERE

  The Bourne Legacy sequel, untitled at this point, will arrive in theaters August 14, 2015.

International Poster for "The Bourne Legacy"  Universal Pictures

International Poster for “The Bourne Legacy” Universal Pictures

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- Stephen is a contributor and writer on The Dispatch. Stephen is the founder and editor for the Steven Spielberg Fan Club website and contributes to pop culture stories on The Dispatch, especially upcoming movie news. Beginning in 2016, Stephen took the role of Managing Editor for the Tampa Dispatch.

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  1. ‘Bourne Legacy’ sequel gets a new writer for the ‘new’ creative team is formed - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] explained his exit from the Bourne franchise back in the fall and does not want to […]

  2. Captain Phillips (2013) | Abbie Watches Stuff says:

    […] Director Paul Greengrass talks ‘Captain Phillips’ ‘United 93′ and never making a… (theglobaldispatch.com) […]

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