The Bourne Identity (2002) Poster


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The name Bourne came from Ansel Bourne, a preacher in Rhode Island, the first documented case of "dissociative fugue", a condition not unlike dissociative amnesia or dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality disorder). One day in 1887 he forgot who he was, started a new life in Pennsylvania under the name Brown, and opened a convenience store. About three months later, he woke up and not only remembered his life as Bourne, but forgot all of his life as Brown... and needless to say was quite confused as to why he was in Pennsylvania.
Most of the US Marines in the Zurich consulate were actual Marine Security Guards assigned to embassies in Europe, at the request of producer Frank Marshall. They used their own uniforms, worked with the director on dialogue (eventually cut), and developed the tactics they use in clearing the embassy.
As of 2014 this is the only film in the Bourne series with any resemblance to the plot of the book it's purportedly based on, and it's a very loose adaptation. All other movies in the series are original screenplays that use only the titles of novels by Robert Ludlum and/or Eric Van Lustbader.
The red bag that Bourne uses in the consulate is now owned by Adam Savage of MythBusters (2003) and contains all the props that Jason pours onto the desk in his house in Paris
The region in Greece shown at the end of the movie is the island of Mykonos in the Aegean sea.
The author of the novel that the film was based on, Robert Ludlum, died while the film was in postproduction, on 12 March 2001.
Matt Damon climbed down the last 30 feet of the building himself, without a stunt double. He called it "the most gruelling thing I had to do."
Brad Pitt was offered the role of Jason Bourne, but turned it down to do Spy Game (2001).
The type of martial arts used by Jason Bourne is a combination of Filpino Kali along with Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do. Krav Maga is widely mistaken as being used in this film. It is not, as Matt Damon was trained by Kali/Jeet Kune Do expert Jeff Imada. The film's uncredited fight coordinators are Damon Caro and Jonathan Eusebio. Both are trained in Kali and Jeet Kune Do and neither are trained in the Krav Maga.
At Doug Liman's instruction, screenwriter Tony Gilroy did not read the "Bourne Identity" novel; instead, he worked solely from an outline prepared by Liman.
In the beginning of the film Jason Bourne is looking in the mirror and says, "Weet je wie ik ben? Hou dan godverdomme op met dat gezeik en zeg het me." It's Nederlands (usually called "Dutch" in English), and means, "Do you know who I am? Then cut the goddamn bullshit and tell me." It is one of the few instances where Nederlands is used correctly in a Hollywood production, as it is often used interchangeably with German, which also used to be called "Dutch" in English.
Because of 9/11 the producers decided to make the film more relevant by discarding the opening and closing sequences and replacing them with alternates. The story originally opened in Mykynos and the plot was told in flashback. Although the closing remained in Mykynos, it was rewritten and omitted Abbott's character from the sequence.
In the book The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum, the main bad guy is a real life criminal genius, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez of Venezuela, better known as Carlos the Jackal. Carlos committed at least 11 murders in the 1970s and early 1980s, primarily in France, and was still at large when the novel came out. The real Carlos was captured in Sudan in 1994 and extradited to France, where he was sentenced to life in prison.
Matt Damon went through hundreds of hours of gun training so he'd look comfortable holding a weapon.
Amongst the items in Jason's safe deposit box are an American Express Platinum Charge Card and a rather unusual Air France Club 2000 frequent flyer card. The latter is an invitation only card handed out at the discretion of Air France senior management to customers who control multi million dollar/Euro travel budgets and cannot be earned by flying per se.
Doug Liman wanted the camera operator to be late moving the camera, adding an "edge" to the photography. So he didn't let him watch rehearsal - that way, he wouldn't know which character spoke next.
When Bourne initially docks with the fishermen who find him, he gets off and walks across the street. As he crosses a small motor buggie begins toward him in the opposite direction. Right as the two are about to intersect two pedestrians cross the foreground, momentarily obstructing the view. After they move, Bourne has disappeared. If you watch closely you can see Bourne's (Matt Damon's) feet underneath the motor buggie running behind with it to stay concealed. Once it has gotten to the right side of the screen you see his body come up from ducking behind the buggie.
The secret C.I.A cell Treadstone is inspired by the real life secret C.I.A cell 'The Enterprise', which organised the Iran-Contra affair. The character of Conklin is based on Oliver North while Ward Abbott is a combination of John Poindexter & Robert McFarlane.
Matt Damon trained in the Filipino martial art Kali for the movie. Kali involves using the aggressor's energy against him and conserving your own energy.
In the script, Marie screamed and cried after seeing the assassin jump out the window. Franka Potente decided instead to play the scene like she was in shock.
In an earlier draft of the screenplay, Marie was American, her surname was Purcell and she had green hair. Final drafts had her name changed to Kreutz, her nationality changed to German and she was given multicolored hair.
Doug Liman set out to make this film with the feel of the movie inspired by Run Lola Run (1998), in which Franka Potente (who plays Marie in this movie) played the main part.
The original release date was set for 7 September 2001. When problems with the ending arose, the date was pushed back to 31 May 2002. The release date was then pushed back again two weeks later to 14 June 2002, as the studio did not want the film opening against Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002), which featured the voice of Matt Damon.
Matt Damon was surprised when he was offered the role because in the book Bourne is a much older man. "But Liman told me he didn't want to do James Bond; he saw it more as a European La Femme Nikita (1990)."
Besides Matt Damon, Julia Stiles appears in all the films in the Jason Bourne Trilogy.
Doug Liman's directorial method was often hands-on. Many times he operated the camera himself in order to create what he believed was a more intimate relationship between himself, the material, and the actors. He felt that this connection was lost if he simply observed the recording on a monitor. This was a mindset he developed from his background as a small-scale indie film maker.
The film has almost nothing to do with the original novel, while the 1988 mini-series The Bourne Identity (1988) with Richard Chamberlain followed the novel very closely.
Doug Liman based a lot of the CIA operation's details on his father's memoir. Arthur L. Liman was chief counsel in the Iran-Contra hearings in the 1980s.
Brian Cox (Ward Abbott) and Chris Cooper's (Alexander Conklin) characters are never referred to by name until the end credits.
Doug Liman wanted Matt Damon to walk like a boxer. Damon explained, "There was a kind of directness in it and an efficiency about the way they moved."
Doug Liman says Paris is very close to his heart and the most beautiful city in the world, no doubt why he chose to film there; when he later made Edge of Tomorrow (2014), he got to showcase the city in a completely different light.
The movie was shot in seven European nations, but mostly in the cities of Paris and Prague.
After getting recognition for Swingers (1996), Doug Liman knew he wanted to adapt Robert Ludlum's book. He piloted a plane to Ludlum's home in Glacier National Park in Montana to ask for the rights.
Both Brian Cox and Chris Cooper shot all their initial scenes in just five days. Both actors later returned for re-shoots to adjust the film's ending. Cox's abandoned re-shot scenes can be found on the DVD.
The production used the same stunt driving team that worked on the famous Paris car chase scene in Ronin (1998).
During production, Universal constantly sent memos to the director Doug Liman after viewing dailies. One such memo urged Liman to consider using a montage, accompanied by suitable wrap up music, to introduce the final act "like Tony Scott shoots". Liman sent the studio a message back, letting them know that if that's the ending they wanted, maybe they should hire Tony Scott to film it.
From the onset of filming, difficulties with the studio slowed the film's development and caused a rift between the director and Universal Pictures, as executives were unhappy with the film's pacing, emphasis on small scale action sequences, and the general relationship between themselves and Doug Liman, who was suspicious of direct studio involvement. A number of reshoots and rewrites late in development and scheduling problems delayed the film from its original release target date of September 2001 to June 2002 and took it $8,000,000 over budget from the initial budget of $60 million; screenwriter Tony Gilroy faxed elements of screenplay rewrites almost throughout the entire duration of filming. A particular point of contention with regard to the original Gilroy script were the scenes set in the farmhouse near the film's conclusion. Liman and Matt Damon fought to keep the scenes in the film after they were excised in a third-act rewrite that was insisted upon by the studio. Liman and Damon argued that, though the scenes were low key, they were integral to the audience's understanding of the Bourne character and the film's central themes. The farmhouse sequence consequently went through many rewrites from its original incarnation before its inclusion in the final product.
Director Doug Liman offered the female lead to Sarah Polley (whom he directed in the film Go (1999)), but she declined the part.
There are no opening credits besides the title card.
In the book, the bank account number is on a piece of microfilm. Doug Liman wanted to modernize the technology.
Russell Crowe, Matthew McConaughey and Sylvester Stallone were considered for the role of Jason Bourne.
Doug Liman would visit composer John Powell's home recording studio for six-hour listening sessions.
Several different endings were considered. One in which all the Treadstone assassins converge on Bourne who is aboard a cargo ship. A pursuit occurs through the hold of the ship. Another ending was considered where Bourne is pursued by assassins on motorbikes with rockets. Lead actor Damon reportedly hated this scripted ending and refers to it as "that damn damn rocket and motorbikes ending." Damon felt the gun-blazing-style ending went against the reality and grit that the earlier parts of the screenplay had set up.
The rifle the 'Professor' uses at various occasions, for example at the farm, is a Swiss SIG 550 Sniper.
Average & Median Shot Lengths = ~4 seconds.
The character played by Clive Owen drives a BMW, an allusion to commercials the same actor was in.
Due to the tumultuous relationship between Universal and director Doug Liman, when the sequel was considered, Universal shopped the film around to other directors.
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Brian Cox (Ward Abbott) appears in two other movies as the employer of an assassin who has amnesia after a traumatic event, The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) and X2 (2003).
The rackmount systems in Treadstone are really several different types of Behringer musical equipment; Virtualizer Pro effects processors, line mixers, and compressors.
Doug Liman thought that Franka Potente was right for the part of Maria based on her breakout role in Run Lola Run (1998).
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In 1983, Universal had planned to make this with Burt Reynolds as Jason Bourne and Jack Clayton as director. Due to Reynolds busy schedule, the movie stalled.
Director of Photography Oliver Wood credits director Doug Liman with coming up with the shooting style for the scene where Bourne is pursued by the Professor into the field of reeds. The crew was trying to figure out ways to make the sequence exciting, and Liman suggested shooting everything from a waist-height angle.
The birth dates on the passports are cover details for the different identities (i.e. the Bourne identity)... they would never list his real birthday.
The only film in the Jason Bourne/Matt Damon series to not be directed by Paul Greengrass.
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On the Region 2 Special Edition DVD, the title "The Bourne Identity" does not appear anywhere within either the theatrical or alternate versions presented on the disc. With the exception of the Universal logo, all the credits appear at the end, but still no title card.
The gun that Bourne finds in the safety deposit box at the Gemeinschaft Bank in Zurich is a SIG-Sauer SIG Pro SP2009 (9mm) pistol.
Carter Burwell was the original composer but left the film after when it was delayed in 2001 because of re-shoots. He completed approximately 21 minutes of score before the change in composers.
The film was originally scheduled to be released in June 2001, but was delayed because of re-shoots ordered by director Doug Liman, including the car chase that takes place in the middle of the film.
The second operative - in the blue suit at the conference table - is sitting at a table with flags bearing the inscription "FAG" on them, black letters with an orange underline. This is the logo for a bearing manufacturer based in Germany. On the table are three examples of their product.
This was the first film in the UK with the "12A" certificate. The press release came out the day before it was released. Because of this, there was no time to change the "12" card at the start with a new "12A" one.
The small hotel where Bourne and Marie hole up in Paris before fleeing to the country is called "Hotel de la Paix," which translates (perhaps ironically) as "Hotel of Peace."
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The same year as this, Brian Cox and Chris Cooper were both in Adaptation. (2002).
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The film cast includes two Oscar winners: Matt Damon and Chris Cooper; and one Oscar nominee: Clive Owen.
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Judy Parfitt appears as a psychologist in a deleted scene on the DVD edition. She is not in the feature film.
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The 2 September 2000 draft of the screenplay credits David Self as a writer. He is not credited in the final film.
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The Bourne Identity was released on the same day as Scooby-Doo (2002), and Windtalkers (2002).
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Doug Liman offered the part of Marie to his Go (1999) star Sarah Polley, but she turned him down.
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Matt Damon and Chris Cooper later co-starred in Syriana (2005).
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Despite prominent billing, Clive Owen only gets about three minutes of screen time, broken up throughout the film. He doesn't talk until an hour and 25 minutes into the film and even then it's in his last scene. The character's real name is never revealed, and the credits only list him as The Professor. When Owen was describing his part, he remarked: "I basically put on a pair of glasses and pose to the camera!"
Some differences between the film and the novel: in the novel, Jason Bourne does not recover from his injuries on the ship, but spends months at the coast with an alcoholic doctor, who performs multiple surgeries on him. Jason's deposit box does not contain cash and a gun, and he opens it in the presence of a high-level bank employee. After this, Jason is attacked in the bank by professional assassins. Marie also plays a more important role in the novel, where she is a Canadian economics analyst named Marie St. Jacques, not a German gypsy.
The small red duffel bag Jason Bourne takes from Gemeinschaft Bank in Zurich early in the movie when he cleans out the safety deposit box, and later gives to Marie when he sends her away, shows up again towards the end of the film as a hanging planter in Marie's scooter rental shop.
The film differs greatly from the novel but follows the basic premise behind the character Jason Bourne and the circumstances surrounding his introduction. In both stories, a man is found in the water and wakes up with amnesia, a bank number on a chip embedded in his hip and an unusual set of skills. Other elements that were present in both the book and the film were Bourne being found near Marseilles, Bourne serving on a fishing boat, he and Marie traveling to Paris, Bourne and Marie discovering "Kane" (or "Cain" in the novel) as one of Bourne's cover names, Marie initiating the romantic side of their relationship, Marie involving someone from her past, Conklin trying to kill Bourne and The final fight scene taking place at a Treadstone base of operations. (On an upper floor of a Brownstone.)
Body count: 8.
In the final scene where Bourne returns to Marie in Greece, over the cash register of her shop are some petunias planted in the Zuric bank bag that had the money Bourne gave Marie when they parted in France.
The DVD includes four deleted scenes:
  • Wombosi on a jet, telling the man who referred John Michael Kane (Bourne) to him that Kane came to kill him, and that he is going to find out who sent Kane. Kane is a tribute to the source novel's back story for Bourne, where Cain is his cover name in Vietnam.

  • While on the way to Paris, Marie stops the car to get a look on a map. Then follows a discussion as to why Marie should bring Bourne to Paris as she doesn't know him. After some talk they get back in the car and drive on.

  • At the CIA headquarters a psychologist analyzes Bourne's motivations and gives her opinion on Bourne's condition and thoughts to Conklin and Abbott.

  • Bourne and Marie use the underground and talk about her cover identity for the Hotel Regina.

The scene at the beginning of the film, where Ward Abbott is leaving the CIA briefing with the other senior CIA officials, shows up twice during the film. It is reused again just after Conklin discusses the French police.
In a closing sequence of the film prior to Marie renting out two scooters to a tourist couple, where a camera focuses in on the shop and the scenic backdrop, the sound effect of Flipper (1964), the popular 1960s television show, created by Ivan Tors can be heard in the background.
There is a reference to Greece three times in the movie. Firstly, Marie wearing a Corfu t-shirt (island in the northern part of Greece) in the bed scene at the hotel in Paris, secondly a restaurant named Olympos (the highest Greek mountain) appears in the background when The Professor - Clive Owen - opens the trunk of his car, and thirdly in the last scene when Bourne meets Marie at her rent a scooter store in Mykonos (the well known island in the Aegean sea).
According to Robert Ludlum's description of the sound, the assassin who killed Conklin used a 9mm Luger with a suppressor attachment.

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