Why Matt Damon Called the ‘Bourne Ultimatum’ Script ‘a Career Ender’: ‘It’s Really Embarrassing’

Matt Damon’s movie-star film career kicked off with his stunning performance in Good Will Hunting. Since Ben Affleck and Damon won Oscars for writing the Boston-set film, Matt Damon has appeared in big movies like True Grit and Oceans 11, among several others. However, one of his most iconic roles is in the Bourne series. The action thrillers, beginning with 2002’s The Bourne Identity, were popular at the box office–and among critics. However, Damon didn’t think much of the third movie in the Bourne franchise. Why did the famous actor roast the script of The Bourne Ultimatum?

matt damon
Matt Damon at the 89th Annual Academy Awards in 2017 | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Matt Damon said that the ‘Bourne Ultimatum’ script was caught up in an age of studio nonsense

Damon doesn’t think too much of his own movie, The Bourne Ultimatum. The third movie in the series was written by Tony Gilroy, the same scribe who penned the first two: Bourne Identity and Bourne Supremacy.

Damon told GQ, however, that for Ultimatum, “Gilroy struck a deal to write just one draft of the script, take no notes, [and] do no rewrites.” In exchange, Damon said: he’d “get paid “an exorbitant amount of money.”

The movie star didn’t feel great about that. However, he puts the blame on the studio, not the writer.

Matt Damon at the Melbourne Premiere of The Bourne Ultimatum in 2007 | Simon Fergusson/Getty Images

“It’s really the studio’s fault for putting themselves in that position,” Damon said. “I don’t blame Tony for taking a boatload of money and handing in what he handed in.” Still, he had some super harsh words for Gilroy’s screenplay.

“It’s just that it was unreadable,” Damon lamented. He thought it would be “a career-ender.”

“I mean, I could put this thing up on eBay and it would be game over for that dude,” Damon said. “It’s terrible. It’s really embarrassing.”

Why was it so bad? Gilroy, Damon claims, “was having a go, basically, and he took his money and left.”

Damon told the publication about the tough time he had shooting the third iteration of the ‘Bourne’ movies

Damon also maintains that the “lackluster work” on the script” made shooting The Bourne Ultimatum completely chaotic.

“We had a start date,” Damon said. It was supposed to be released in August of that year, but Damon complained that the production was slowed down to figure out “what the script is.”

“In the end,” GQ reported, “the shooting script was written under extreme deadline pressure by George Nolfi and Scott Z. Burns.” But the headaches didn’t end there.

Matt Damon and Neils Arestrup while showing The Bourne Ultimatum | Pierre Suu/FilmMagic

Gilroy brought up another issue before the film’s release.

“He arbitrated to get sole credit,” Damon told GQ, who reported that he sounded “disgusted.”

However, “the WGA looked into it and turned Gilroy down, so now he shares the credit with the other writers.

“That was just a little bit of justice, I have to say,” Damon said.

Sounds like it worked out, however; the third Bourne movie has the highest Rotten Tomatoes rating of any in the series. (No doubt, the film was helped by the extra writers who came on to assist). Ultimatum also achieved the highest box office returns in the Bourne franchise.