Writer Tony Gilroy basically wrote the first movie under duress, and he was never happy with the experience for various reasons. When asked back for the sequels, he made sure the studio made it worth his while. I'm curious how some of you assess the ethics of what he did, though.
Later, though, Damon will wonder if maybe he has become a little too relaxed. Because suddenly, as we sit on a bench in the afternoon sunshine, he takes a major swing at Gilroy. Damon says that back in 2001, when the first Bourne movie, The Bourne Identity, was still in postproduction, Gilroy saw a rough cut and got worried. "The word on Bourne was that it was supposed to be a turkey," Damon says. "It's very rare that a movie comes out a year late, has four rounds of reshoots, and it's good. So Tony Gilroy arbitrated against himself to not be the writer with sole credit."
Typically screenwriters use the Writers Guild's arbitration process when they feel they've been denied credit unfairly. This time, Gilroy wanted to share the credit (and the blame), Damon says, "to have another guy take the bullet with him." And so someone named William Blake Herron is now cashing residual checks on Bourne, just like Gilroy is. (Actually Damon may have gotten his chronology wrong—one source says Herron initiated the credit dispute, but that Gilroy didn't oppose sharing credit.)
Gilroy wrote Bourne 2 as well: The Bourne Supremacy. Then, Damon says, for The Bourne Ultimatum, the third in the franchise, Gilroy struck a deal to write just one draft of the script, take no notes, do no rewrites, and get paid "an exorbitant amount of money." "It's really the studio's fault for putting themselves in that position," Damon says. "I don't blame Tony for taking a boatload of money and handing in what he handed in. It's just that it was unreadable. This is a career-ender. I mean, I could put this thing up on eBay and it would be game over for that dude. It's terrible. It's really embarrassing. He was having a go, basically, and he took his money and left."
Gilroy's lackluster work left the production in chaos, Damon says. "We had a start date. Like, 'It's coming out August of next year.' We're like, 'Hang on, we've got to figure out what the script is.' " In the end, the shooting script was written under extreme deadline pressure by George Nolfi and Scott Z. Burns, with input from Greengrass, Damon says. And then Gilroy raised another challenge. "Before the movie came out, he arbitrated to get sole credit," Damon says, disgusted. The WGA looked into it and turned Gilroy down. (He shares credit with Nolfi and Burns.) "That was just a little bit of justice, I have to say," Damon says.
The rest of the profile can be found here.