Action-spy thriller The Bourne Identity, an adaptation of Robert Ludlum’s eponymous novel, opened to audiences in the USA and worldwide this day, June 14, in 2002. An unlikely blockbuster, the film garnered positive reviews and made $214 million worldwide. It catapulted Matt Damon, who had few notable movies and no action flicks to his name, to legit star status.
We bring to you some bits of trivia about this film:
1. Director Doug Liman was a fan of the novels
Liman(pictured) had been reading the original trilogy since high school. The rights for film adaptation were with Warner Bros at the time. When Liman received hints that the rights were about to lapse, he flew his aircraft to Robert Ludlum’s place and got them optioned from the author himself!
2. The film and the novel are starkly different
Writer Tony Gilroy(pictured) who was roped in for the movie was not very impressed with the source material and believed it was not the kind of book a film could be made with. After a lot of brainstorming, it was decided that all except the core story - that of a spy suffering from amnesia - would be stripped away for an entirely different plot.
3. Matt Damon wasn’t the first choice for Jason Bourne
A lot of actors known for their action films were considered before Damon was zeroed in on. These included Sylvester Stallone, Brad Pitt, Matthew McConaughey and even Russell Crowe.
4. Actual US Marines were used for the Zurich Consulate scene
At the request of producer Frank Marshall, real US Marines were brought in for this scene. They even wore their own uniforms and employed actual area-clearing tactics in the scene.
5. The film went through two years of chaotic production
Constant disagreements between the director and producers over every aspect led to the film going through four reshoots in two years, and costing $8 million north of its $60 million budget. The altercations also meant that Doug Liman was not to return for the sequel of this film.
6. An alternative ending was shot in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy
After the events of 9/11 led to worldwide paranoia about secret government agencies, the producers decided on an alternative ending wherein the movie’s events happen in flashback and Treadstone’s unscrupulous activities are toned down. If this ending would have been chosen, the sequels would have gone quite differently. (It is included in the DVD as an extra)
7. The iconic Paris Car Chase Scene
It took five vintage Austin Mini Coopers to shoot this scene over different locations in Paris, where Bourne scoots over stairways, curbs and narrow alleys, using the car’s small size to advantage. The chase was shot in parts at various locations and then clubbed together. If you know the city of Paris well, you can identify the errors in continuity!
8. Bourne and The Professor
Clive Owen’s character, The Professor had around three minutes of screen time - and a rather expensive three minutes for the producers they were! Second unit director Alexander Witt shot all the scenes with Owen, while Liman shot all scenes with Damon, and the two units converged just as the characters meet each other in the field.
Matt Damon reprises his role in Jason Bourne, releasing this July.
Do you know of more such interesting trivia from the film? Share with us in the comments below!
Title Image: alphacoders