Matt Damon Has No Idea How ‘Bourne Ultimatum’ Ended Up Good

Photo: Courtesy of Universal

The Bourne Ultimatum set a record for an August opening in racking up $70.2 million in box-office receipts this weekend. Audiences love it — Nikki Finke reports that exit polls showed an 80 percent "Excellent/Very Good" rating. Critics love it, too, garnering Paul Greengrass's movie a Metacritic score of 85, second-highest among recent releases. We saw it Saturday night and thought everything about it was pretty fantastic other than the people in front of us who brought two children under the age of 5. So you'd think star Matt Damon would have kind words for the process of making the movie, right?

Nope. In Entertainment Weekly, Damon is more bluntly critical of the project than any star in any interview we can remember reading in a long, long time. "There was an aimlessness to the process," he says. "It was miserable." More scenes from a movie shoot that shouldn't have made a great movie, but somehow did, after the jump.

It was harder work than I've ever done because it was so unrewarding. There's a buzz you get when it's working, and we didn't really have that.


This movie was 140 shooting days, which is the longest movie I've ever been on. There wasn't a single day where we didn't have new pages!


I did the whole movie that way. In any given scene I didn't know where I'd just come from or where I was going. Which, as an actor, you kind of need! And Paul's only direction was ''Butch-er and more intense!'' Finally I was like, ''If you give me the f---ing 'butch-er and more intense' note one more time, I'm gonna kick your ass!'' It's incredible that we've been able to pull the rabbit out of the hat three times.


That last quote is the funniest to us, because it reveals that — on this movie at least — Paul Greengrass is this generation's answer to George Lucas.

The Strong Violent Type [EW]