When Swingers director Doug Liman delivered The Bourne Identity in 2002 to be swiftly followed by Paul Greengrass‘ explosive sequels Supremacy and Ultimatum, it was the sharp burst of electricity the spy genre of cinema, led by suave super agent James Bond, desperately needed.
In 2006, EON Productions, who make the Bond movies, released Casino Royale as a reaction to the changing face of the spy genre, a movie that owed its darker, more stoic tone to Liman’s work on Bourne.
But, says Liman, it was the Bond series he was always interested in. In the middle of promoting his latest, Jumper, RT sat down with the director to talk about his passion for blockbuster cinema and why Bond was always his dream project.
“After Swingers people said, ‘You can do anything, what would you like to do?'” Liman told us. “I said, ‘I want to direct a James Bond movie.’ They said, ‘Well, you can’t do that. They’re not going to let you do that. They have a specific kind of director they hire, so just forget it.’ I said, ‘Well I’ve got a spy book I read in college, The Bourne Identity, what about that?’ They said, ‘You can’t do that either. Do something else. How about a romantic comedy?’ I ended up not doing that and making Go before I did end up getting the rights to make Bourne Identity.
Liman tells us that he chose to take Bourne in a grittier direction only as he was making it. “What I discovered when I started adapting the book was that as much as I enjoyed those movies I wasn’t interested in making a totally mindless piece of entertainment.”
But with the reinvigoration of the franchise, Liman is aching to play in that universe again. “It really is surreal that all I was trying do to was direct a James Bond film and I ended up changing the James Bond franchise,” he tells RT. “That being said, I’d still love to direct a James Bond film and I heard Steven Spielberg quoted recently saying he’d always aspired to direct a James Bond film. I think that is one of the spectacles that sitting there as a young boy in the movie theatre and being swept away to these exotic locations and the sexiness of it is one of the things that made me fall in love with cinema in the first place.”
Jumper is out now in cinemas, and you can read our full interview with Doug Liman right here.