Los Angeles (E! Online) - Universal is opting to keep Jason Bourne on the run.
Their ears ringing with the sound of three Oscar wins for the Bourne Ultimatum, Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass have reportedly committed to add a fourth film to the critically acclaimed action franchise.
Per Daily Variety, Damon and Greengrass, who took over from Bourne Identity director Doug Liman to helm the second and third installments in the series, are on board but because of prior commitments it could be a few years before cameras start rolling.
That should give producers time to figure out Bourne's next step, considering late author Robert Ludlum penned only three bestselling novels about the amnesiac secret agent on the hunt for the shady figures who turned him into a steely killing machine. Two sequels by Eric Van Lustbader, The Bourne Legacy and The Bourne Betrayal, haven't been reviewed quite so kindly.
Damon, for one, didn't seem too excited about his character's future prospects after Ultimatum's mystery-resolving (yet helpfully open-ended) denouement.
"I just don't see what story you could do that would feel right,'' the 37-year-old actor told Entertainment Weekly in August shortly after the third film hit theaters. ''It's not like you can bump him on the head again and give him amnesia. Someone suggested we could do one where Bourne loses his car keys...If that's what they're coming up with, maybe a break isn't a bad idea."
The reigning Sexiest Man Alive and Sarah Silverman's video boy-toy said that if there was another Bourne movie it should come after audiences have had a chance to catch their collective breath. Or raise children.
''I think the way you could do a number four is to do it in, like, 10 years," Damon, who at the time also joked on The Daily Show that the next film would have to be called The Bourne Redundancy, said.
''The studio obviously wants to keep it alive. I mean, look, Universal is owned by GE. When they sell a refrigerator that works, they want to try to sell more of them. But from the creative side,this is definitely the end of the story of this guy's search for his identity.''
Greengrass said it would be the audience that ultimately decided whether another film should get made. And moviegoers acted accordingly, shelling out $443 million to bring the franchise box office total to $945 million worldwide.
Critics have also been particularly kind to the franchise, singling out Damon's performance, the direction and other fine qualities that have made the films stand out in Hollywood, where big-studio action movies usually mean noise, violence, crummy dialogue and little else.
At Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony, Christopher Rouse took home the statute for film editing for The Bourne Ultimatum, while the teams of Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis and Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg won for sound mixing and sound editing, respectively.
Damon also snatched the Favorite Male Action Star crown away from perennial pirate Johnny Depp at this year's People's Choice Awards.
But long before Jason Bourne dries off from that swim in the East River, Damon will film the corporate thriller The Informers for director Steven Soderbergh. He is also in talks to star in Clint Eastwood's next project, The Human Factor, a look at Nelson Mandela's life in post-apartheid South Africa.
Greengrass, meanwhile, will be busy prepping his Vietnam War drama They Marched into Sunlight and putting the finishing touches on Green Zone, based on journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran's book about the CIA's hunt for nuclear weapons in Iraq, Imperial Life in the Emerald City. Damon stars in the thriller, along with Greg Kinnear and Amy Ryan.