The Bourne franchise will live on, but not necessarily with Matt Damon. While the actor reunited with director Paul Greengrass for a long-awaited fourth Bourne movie with 2016’s Jason Bourne, the final result was rather lackluster considering the quality of the original trilogy. After Jason Bourne’s release Damon and Greengrass went back to the position they’d kept in the years after The Bourne Ultimatum—not ruling out another sequel, but also not doing one until they had an idea worth telling. While we wait to see if that manifests or not, a Bourne TV series is now moving forward at USA.
It was announced today (via THR) that USA Network has ordered four new pilots, including Treadstone which explores the origin story and present-day actions of the titular CIA black ops program that created Jason Bourne. A TV series adaptation of Robert Ludlum’s novels was actually in the works at CBS years ago from CSI creator Anthony Zuiker, but it never came to fruition.
USA’s pilot is written and executive produced by Tim Kring, who created the NBC series Heroes. Filmmaker Ramin Bahrani, who directed 99 Homes and the upcoming HBO movie Fahrenheit 451, will executive produce and direct the Treadstone pilot.
This actually sounds like a pretty compelling way to keep the franchise alive, and there’s plenty of story to mine in Treadstone’s origins. Moreover, the hiring of Bahrani to direct the pilot signals that Kring and USA aren’t interested in a straight action series. Given Bahrani’s thoughtful sensibilities, it feels like they’re keen on digging into the serious political issues the Bourne franchise tackled so well.
Additionally, Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail is spearheading a pilot called Briarpatch, a Texas-set murder mystery based on the Ross Thomas novel of the same name. Andy Greenwald, former Grantland writer and current co-host of The Ringer podcast “The Watch,” is writing and executive producing the pilot. Greenwald also served as a staff writer on the first season of Legion.
Check out the full list of pilots ordered by USA Network below, and stay tuned to see which of these gets picked up to series.
From a producer of the Bourne franchise, Treadstone explores the origin story and present-day actions of a CIA black ops program known as Treadstone — a covert operation that uses behavior modification protocol to turn its agents into nearly unstoppable superhuman assassins. The series follows sleeper agents across the globe as they’re mysteriously “awakened” to resume their deadly missions. From Universal Cable Productions, Treadstone is written and executive produced by Tim Kring. Ramin Bahrani, who will direct the pilot, will also serve as an executive producer. Ben Smith and Jeffrey Weiner will executive produce on behalf of Captivate; Justin Levy will executive produce alongside Bradley Thomas on behalf of Imperative Entertainment.
Based on the Ross Thomas novel of the same name, the drama follows Allegra Dill, a dogged investigator returning to her border-town Texas home after her sister is murdered by a car bomb. What begins as a search for a killer turns into an all-consuming fight to bring the corrupt hometown Allegra thought she left behind to its knees. Written for television by Andy Greenwald who will executive produce along with Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail through his production company Esmail Corp and Anonymous Content’s Chad Hamilton, the series celebrates the beloved genre that Thomas’ book represents — a unique blend of crime, thriller, mystery and pulp fiction — while updating his electrifying sense of fun, danger and place for a new generation. Yann Demange will direct and serve as executive producer. Briarpatch is a co-production of Universal Cable Productions and Paramount Television.
Created by Denis Leary and Alex Cary and starring Leary, Erase is the story of Donal O’Neal, a dirty ex-cop who decides to do the right thing and bring down his complicit superior officers. But his best weapon in this battle — a photographic memory — is suddenly compromised by symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s. In this gritty crime thriller, laced with elements of black comedy, Donal races against time to repair the damage he’s done to his estranged family while trying to avoid being killed by his enemies. From Universal Cable Productions, Erase will be executive produced Leary and Cary, along with Apostle Pictures’ Jim Serpico.