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David Edelstein on 'The Bourne Supremacy'

Film critic David Edelstein reviews the new Matt Damon movie The Bourne Supremacy. It's a sequel to the 2002 hit The Bourne Identity, shot in a fast-paced style that heightens the tension of the storyline.

05:13

Other segments from the episode on July 23, 2004

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, July 23, 2004: Interview with Matt Damon; Obituary for Jerry Goldsmith; Obituary for Illinois Jacquet; Review of the film “The Bourne Supremacy.”

Transcript

DATE July 23, 2004 ACCOUNT NUMBER N/A
TIME 12:00 Noon-1:00 PM AUDIENCE N/A
NETWORK NPR
PROGRAM Fresh Air

Interview: Matt Damon discusses his acting career
DAVE DAVIES, host:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, senior writer for the Philadelphia Daily
News, sitting in for Terry Gross.

The trained assassin Jason Bourne has returned to the screen in "The Bourne
Supremacy," based on the spy novel by Robert Ludlum. It's the sequel to the
2002 espionage thriller "The Bourne Identity." Bourne is played by Matt
Damon, one of the most popular actors of his generation. He's starred in such
films as "Saving Private Ryan," "The Talented Mr. Ripley," and "Good Will
Hunting," for which he also won an Oscar for the screenplay he wrote with his
longtime friend, Ben Affleck.

Terry Gross spoke with Matt Damon in 2002 when the first Bourne film was in
theaters. In that film Jason Bourne is adrift in the Mediterranean Sea where
he's rescued by fishermen. He has amnesia and has no recollection of what
happened to him or who he is. The only clues are a couple of bullets in his
back and a Swiss bank account number surgically implanted in his hip.

He goes to the Swiss bank and finds the safe deposit box, which contains lots
of cash, a gun and several passports with his photo but different names. In
this scene he's talking to a woman, played by Franka Potente, who's helping
him find his way.

(Soundbite of "The Bourne Identity")

Mr. MATT DAMON: (As Jason Bourne) Who has a safety deposit box full of money
and six passports and a gun? Who has a bank account number in their hip? I
come in here, and the first thing I'm doing is I'm catching the sight lines
and looking for an exit.

Ms. FRANKA POTENTE (As Marie St. Jacques) I see the exit sign, too. I'm not
worried. I mean, you were shot. People do all kinds of weird and amazing
stuff when they're scared.

Mr. DAMON: (As Bourne) I can tell you the license plate numbers of all six
cars outside. I can tell you that our waitress is left-handed and the guy
sitting up at the counter weighs 215 pounds and knows how to handle himself.
I know the best place to look for a gun is the cab of the gray truck outside.
And at this altitude, I can run flat-out for a half-mile before my hands start
shaking. Now why would I know that?

DAVIES: Damon trained in boxing and martial arts in preparation for his role
as the buff and agile killer. But for an earlier role, he took a different
approach.

TERRY GROSS, host:

You know, I read that for "Courage Under Fire," when you had to lose weight,
you not only starved yourself, but you used laxatives. Now that can't be very
healthy.

Mr. DAMON: Actually, laxatives I used after I started eating again, because
I did it unsupervised, and so all I was doing was I would run 13 miles every
day and I would eat chicken and egg whites and vegetables and one to two baked
potatoes every day for my carbohydrates. But I would run six and a half miles
in the morning and then six and a half at night. And by the end of it, when
my body really started kind of eating itself, like eventually your muscle
just--you're consuming muscle at the end. There's no fat left, really, to
consume. And I was just so tired, I just remember I would wake up in the
morning, I would sit up in my bed--we were in Austin, Texas, shooting--and I
would immediately fall back over because I would get faint. So that was how I
was working out at the end.

I mean, it was stupid and it was unsupervised. And, you know, look, I mean, I
was low down on the totem pole. The studio wasn't going to spend, you know,
1,500 bucks for me to have a trainer. I mean, but I also knew that it was a
chance for me to get more work if I played the role, if I was honest and true
in the role, then somebody would take notice, anybody, you know.

GROSS: Did Robert De Niro create this thing, where like after "Raging Bull,"
you had to put on weight or take off weight or physically change in some
amazing way?

Mr. DAMON: Yeah. I'm sure he--I mean, I grew up, you know, with that, seeing
"Raging Bull" and loving that performance in that movie. And, you know, I was
25 when I did "Courage Under Fire," and it was, you know, the young man's kind
of swagger in saying, `Look, you know, this is what I'm willing to do.'

GROSS: Right.

Mr. DAMON: `This is what I'll put my body through. This is what'--because
the people that you really, you know, idolize did it, too. And it's also this
kind of weird--you know, living out in Los Angeles and not being able to get
acting work, you know, it's a weird way of saying, you know, `No matter what
happens, nobody's ever going to tell me that there's anybody out here with
more discipline or who will give up more, you know, will sacrifice more for
their job than me.' And I don't know, we kind of cling to it...

GROSS: So what'd you get for it?

Mr. DAMON: What's that?

GROSS: What'd you get for it, for all the sacrifice?

Mr. DAMON: Sick. I got sick. And, you know, eventually when I went back to
Boston, yeah, the doctor put me on two different kinds of medication, and he
said I'd really done some bad things to my body. He checked me out and the
first thing he said was, `The only good thing I can tell you is that your
heart didn't shrink.'

GROSS: Jeez.

Mr. DAMON: And then he told me I could never do it again.

GROSS: That's an option? Whoa.

Mr. DAMON: Yeah. Well, your heart's a muscle, so if I'd kept up with it, you
know, obviously that's--I mean, that's what happens to people with anorexia
and, you know, eventually their bodies just shut down. But, you know, my big
master plan of having people take notice, the movie came out, and I was on
this medication, and the reviews for "Courage Under Fire" came out, and none
of them mentioned me at all. And that was when I just said, `You know what?
This is ridiculous, you know,' but it was heartbreaking for me. It was really
heartbreaking.

GROSS: Now you met Ben Affleck when you were about 10. Did he want to act,
too? I mean, was the desire to act part of the basis of your friendship?

Mr. DAMON: Definitely. Well, he was acting. He was known in Cambridge as
the professional actor, because he was on this PBS series called "The Voyage
of the Mimi," which was an educational TV show...

GROSS: Right. I know that.

Mr. DAMON: ...that was on PBS, and they used it as a tool in schools. We
lived two blocks from each other, but we really became friends in high school,
when he got to high school. So I was 15 or 16 when he got there, and he was
14. And then we fashioned--yeah--a very, very deep bond, and a lot of it was
based on what we both wanted to do. I mean, it's a weird thing looking back,
in going and meeting 16-year-olds or meeting 14-year-olds. He and I were
flying to New York together at that age. We--because my parents didn't
support the idea that I would do this professionally at that age. They didn't
say that I couldn't do it. They never did things like that, but they said
they wouldn't pay for me to go to New York to audition for things. And so I
did a local commercial in Boston. Ben and I went and got cast in a local
commercial in Boston.

GROSS: Wait, I'm going to interject. I think it was a TJ Maxx commercial.

Mr. DAMON: Yeah, it was. It was.

GROSS: You get the max for the minimum at TJ Maxx.

Mr. DAMON: The max for the minimum at TJ Maxx. And we got cut out of the
commercial, but we still got paid.

GROSS: Did you have to sing or try on coats or what?

Mr. DAMON: No. I forget. I think we were sitting at a cafeteria table, and
a pretty girl walked by and we had to look at her and then look at each other
like, `Isn't it great to be back in school?' or something like that. It was
like a back-to-school ad.

GROSS: Oh.

Mr. DAMON: But we opened up a bank account and put the money in, and we
called it like, you know, our business bank account. But the money was for
trips to New York, you know, on the old Pan Am shuttle or on the train.

GROSS: You ended up going to Harvard.

Mr. DAMON: Mm-hmm.

GROSS: You grew up in Cambridge. That wasn't far to go.

Mr. DAMON: Right.

GROSS: Far to go intellectually, but not geographically.

Mr. DAMON: Right.

GROSS: And then you left, I think, during or before your senior year...

Mr. DAMON: Yeah.

GROSS: ...to work.

Mr. DAMON: Yeah. I left a few times. I left in the second semester of my
sophomore year to do a TNT movie, and then I came back and then left to do
"School Ties" and then came back again and then left to do a movie called
"Geronimo." "Geronimo"...

GROSS: I'm one of the few people who saw that.

Mr. DAMON: Oh, you're the one. Yeah. Which was a great experience. And...

GROSS: A Walter Hill film.

Mr. DAMON: Walter Hill, yeah, yeah.

GROSS: Yeah.

Mr. DAMON: And that was a great experience. I mean, I got to work with
Duvall and, you know, Gene Hackman. I didn't really get to work with Gene
Hackman, but, you know, I shook his hand, and he said, `What's your name?' and
I said, `Matt Damon,' and he said, `Mark, great to meet you.'

DAVIES: Matt Damon speaking with Terry Gross. He plays the trained assassin
Jason Bourne in the new film "The Bourne Supremacy." We'll continue after
this break. This is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

DAVIES: Let's get back to Terry's interview with Matt Damon. In 1998 Damon
and his long-time friend Ben Affleck won an Oscar for their screenplay for
"Good Will Hunting." Damon was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in
the film as Will, a young man from South Boston who works as a janitor at
Harvard but is able to solve seemingly unsolvable math problems left on a
blackboard. Will grew up in foster homes and has a rap sheet. When he's
jailed for instigating a fight, a professor who sees Will's genius bails him
out on the condition that he get some counseling. Will's psychologist is
played by Robin Williams. In this scene, Will is in the psychologist's office
when a painting catches his eye, a painting made by the psychologist.

(Soundbite of "Good Will Hunting")

Mr. DAMON: (As Will Hunting) The linear and impressionistic mix makes a very
muddled composition. It's also a Winslow Homer rip-off except you got
Whitey(ph) rowing a boat there.

Mr. ROBIN WILLIAMS: (As Sean Maguire) ...(Unintelligible) wasn't very good.

Mr. DAMON: (As Hunting) That's not really what concerns me, though.

Mr. WILLIAMS: (As Maguire) What concerns you?

Mr. DAMON: (As Hunting) It's the coloring.

Mr. WILLIAMS: (As Maguire) You know what the real bitch of it is? It's paint
by number.

Mr. DAMON: (As Hunting) Is it color by number?--because the colors are
fascinating to me.

Mr. WILLIAMS: (As Maguire) Are they really? What about that?

Mr. DAMON: (As Hunting) I think you're about one step away from cutting your
(censored) ear off.

Mr. WILLIAMS: (As Maguire) Really?

Mr. DAMON: (As Hunting) Oh, yeah.

Mr. WILLIAMS: (As Maguire) Think I should move to the South of France, change
my name to Vincent?

Mr. DAMON: (As Hunting) You ever heard the saying, `Any port in a storm'?

Mr. WILLIAMS: (As Maguire) Yeah.

Mr. DAMON: (As Hunting) Yeah, maybe that means you.

Mr. WILLIAMS: (As Maguire) In what way?

Mr. DAMON: (As Hunting) Maybe you're in the middle of a storm, a big
(censored) storm.

Mr. WILLIAMS: (As Maguire) Yeah, maybe.

Mr. DAMON: (As Hunting) The sky's falling on your head, the waves are
crashing over your little boat, the oars are about to snap. You're just
pissing your pants, you're crying for the harbor. So maybe you do what you've
got to do to get out. You know, maybe you became a psychologist.

Mr. WILLIAMS: (As Maguire) Bingo. That's it. Let me do my job now. You
still have a minute. Come on.

Mr. DAMON: (As Hunting) Maybe you married the wrong woman.

Mr. WILLIAMS: (As Maguire) Maybe you should watch your mouth. Why don't you
write that, Chief, all right?

Mr. DAMON: (As Hunting) That's it, isn't it? You married the wrong woman.
What happened? What, did she leave you or did she, you know, (whistles) bang
some other guy?

Mr. WILLIAMS: (As Maguire) If you ever disrespect my wife again, I will end
you. I will (censored) end you.

GROSS: Let's get to "Good Will Hunting." The movie, I think, is based on a
play that you wrote when you were still a student at Harvard. What was the
original play like?

Mr. DAMON: I wrote it--actually, it was a play writing course that this guy,
Anthony Kubiak, taught at Harvard, which is a terrific course, and I wrote it
as a screenplay, you know, in screenplay format. And the original one was 41
pages long and, you know, it just had the beginnings of a story. And it
had--what survived of it was--the one scene that survived from that was the
first time that I meet Robin Williams' character in that movie when he
eventually grabs me by the neck and throws me up against the wall because I
say something about his wife. And that scene was verbatim as I wrote in
Anthony Kubiak's class. But nothing else survived.

But the teacher encouraged me when I finished the class, he gave me an A, and
it was, you know, one of the first times I got an A at Harvard. And I didn't
care what I got in the class. I had had such a good time in the class. And
he gave me an A, and next to it, he wrote on the paper, he wrote, you know,
`You should really keep going with this. This really seems like it could be
leading somewhere,' and encouraged me to do it. And so a few months later,
for spring break I went to Los Angeles to audition, actually, for "Geronimo:
An American Legend," and stayed with Ben, and brought the, you know,
work-in-progress thing with me and showed him. And he loved it, and he said,
`This is great. You know, let's--you know, we should do something with this.'
And so we agreed, you know. Neither of us knew which way to go with it,
though, so a little later on I did "Geronimo" and then moved in--Ben and I got
a place in LA with Casey, his brother.

And we were there for like a year before--you know, and this thing was just
sitting on the shelf because neither of us could think of what to do. And
then one night we were literally sitting around talking. It was probably 1 in
the morning. And it just started--I think Ben was the first one. He started
saying something, and the way that things normally work with us is one person
says a little thing, the next person, and it just starts to rapidly--which is
why, you know, we're utterly useless without each other. At least we have
been so far. But it happened really in a--it kind of tumbled out and the
script came really, really quickly.

GROSS: I want to ask you about "The Talented Mr. Ripley." You were really
just terrific in that film, and you were playing somebody who doesn't have any
of the things he wants: friends, a lover, interesting work, interesting life,
travel, money...

Mr. DAMON: Right.

GROSS: ...none of that. And through a little bit of deception, or perhaps a
lot of deception, he's able to kind of change his life and become part of
this, like, charmed circle of wealthy people...

Mr. DAMON: Right.

GROSS: ...revolving particularly around this one couple played by Jude Law
and...

Mr. DAMON: Right.

GROSS: ...Gwyneth Paltrow. And the first time you meet them you're meeting
them--Is it in Italy?

Mr. DAMON: Yeah.

GROSS: And you're on the Mediterranean on a beach, and they're all, like,
bronzed and beautiful and you've just arrived from...

Mr. DAMON: New York City.

GROSS: Yeah. And you're pale and kind of scrawny. This is one of the...

Mr. DAMON: Right.

GROSS: ...roles you lost weight for. And the first time you meet them you
were in your bathing suit and you just look so wrong.

Mr. DAMON: Right.

GROSS: You look so out of place. And it sets the tone beautifully for
everything that's to follow, this physically uncomfortable, out-of-the-place,
wrong-looking person. Can you talk a little bit just about that scene even.

Mr. DAMON: Yeah. It was right for--it was just right. I mean, it was right
there in the script when I read it, and it made total sense. And we wanted,
obviously, when Ripley starts to try to take over Dickie's identity for him to
try to look more and more like him, so the bigger gap you can leave at the
beginning, you know, the better that's going to come across. And also we just
loved the awkwardness of it.

You know, the green bathing suit that I wore was, you know, maybe a little bit
kind of over-the-top. There was a scene, though, that Anthony Minghella
scripted just in case he felt we needed it, where they show me buying the
bathing suit. I see him on the beach, and so I buy the bathing suit, and
that's the only one they have, which is how I ended up with that bathing suit,
just in case it seemed too kind of goofy that I would have a lime green, you
know, bathing suit. But, you know, Anthony looked at the movie and didn't
feel like we needed it. And so, you know, there's Ripley kind of showing up
as pale--I mean, they painted me alabaster for that. They...

GROSS: Oh, really?

Mr. DAMON: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

GROSS: You got painted pale.

Mr. DAMON: Yeah. And I already was pale. I had stayed out of the sun for,
you know, months and months, and I was as pale as I could be. But they, you
know, even put more kind of gook all over me.

GROSS: What did you do internally to get into the character of somebody who
wants so desperately to live this life that he has no access to, that he
finally ends up not only deceiving but killing for it?

Mr. DAMON: It's just that I can really relate. I really related to that
character in a lot of ways. I really related to that.

GROSS: In what way?

Mr. DAMON: I don't know. I've had that feeling, you know, in my life of
wanting to belong somewhere and not belonging and--especially kind of in, you
know, adolescence and in teen-age years. I mean, those are--you feel that
with such pain and, you know...

GROSS: Yeah. But you already had an agent in New York...

Mr. DAMON: Yeah, right. That's right.

GROSS: ...that you could brag about to your friends.

Mr. DAMON: Yeah. God. So, yeah, I mean, there was a lot to him, to that
character, that I just really related to and loved. And, yeah, I felt--I
still feel bad for that character. I got really mad the first time I saw the
movie, actually, with the final music.

GROSS: Why?

Mr. DAMON: 'Cause there was a scene where I'm walking with Gwyneth and I have
a razor in my pocket, and the music that, you know, which is perfect for the
movie, it's right for the movie, but because Anthony was my kind of, you know,
partner in crime the whole time we were shooting it, every time something--you
know, we would ask some--you know, we'd say, `Well, should Ripley'--I mean,
I'd say, `So I'm going to kill Freddie with this statue?'

And he'd go, `Of course you're going to kill Freddie. Freddie's coming and
you have--Freddie's accusing you of doing--how dare he? He has a lot of
nerve.'

You know, he was very much my ally, you know, when we were shooting it because
that was what got me ready for every scene was the fact that what I'm doing
makes total sense.

GROSS: Right.

Mr. DAMON: It's just--of course I'm going to do this, and this makes--you
know, so Anthony was a very good kind of sounding board for the Ripley
rationale. But, of course, at the end of the day he's the director of the
movie, so when he goes to put the music over the scene where I'm walking
towards Gwyneth with a razor blade, he's not defending Ripley. He's got this
kind of Hitchcockian music over it. And so when I saw it I was like, you
know, how--you know.

GROSS: He told me I was justified.

Mr. DAMON: Yeah, exactly. How dare you? You're supposed to be my friend.

GROSS: What was it like for you when you first became--when you first started
acting in movies with big stars in it and then you became a big star yourself,
and suddenly all the people who you admired when you were young, who seemed so
out of reach, who lived either in the television box or on the big screen,
were colleagues of yours or friends of yours or people you had access to? Was
it awkward at first to be in that circle, to be in that situation where people
who were always just these, like, movie figures were now actually
three-dimensional people and you were working with them or you were talking
with them?

Mr. DAMON: Yeah. Yeah. That was weird. I mean, the only time I really run
into other people, you know, that I've grown up watching or whatever is at,
like, a ceremony or, you know, an event or something.

GROSS: Mm-hmm.

Mr. DAMON: You know, I haven't really run into too many people, although I
have an assistant, and I guess, you know, two years ago for Christmas--I guess
I have a habit of talking about Morgan Freeman a lot 'cause I really respect
Morgan Freeman.

GROSS: Oh, he's great. Yeah.

Mr. DAMON: So this is going to sound really silly, but for Christmas a couple
of years ago she gave me, as a Christmas gift, dinner with Morgan Freeman.
She called Morgan Freeman's assistant and I guess he thought it was funny, and
so they kind of agreed. And it was like a, you know, make-a-wish dinner or
something where I, you know, was like, you know, Chris Farley on the old
"Chris Farley Show" on "Saturday Night Live," like, `Remember that time in
that movie when you did that thing? That was awesome.' But for the most part
the most I get to know people is working with them.

And I've been incredibly lucky, incredibly lucky to, you know--starting with,
you know, back with Duvall, and how good he was to me and how--and he didn't
have to do that. You know, the guy is a living legend, you know, and he
tolerated my questions. And I did "Courage Under Fire" with Denzel
Washington, and he was really nice to me. And, yeah, "Rainmaker." And, God,
Danny DeVito. Mickey Rourke was great to me. Mickey Rourke sat me down the
first time I met him, kind of forcefully, and said, `Don't screw this up.
Don't do what I did.'

GROSS: Oh.

Mr. DAMON: `I was a jerk to people. I'--you know, he said, `Appreciate what
you have and be polite to everybody you meet and don't ever screw this up.'
It was pretty, you know, affecting, you know,

GROSS: Matt Damon, thank you so much.

Mr. DAMON: All right. Thanks for having me.

DAVIES: Matt Damon speaking with Terry Gross in 2002. He stars as the
trained assassin Jason Bourne in the new film "The Bourne Supremacy" based on
the thriller by Robert Ludlum. We'll hear what our film critic David
Edelstein thinks about the film later in today's show.

I'm Dave Davies, and this is FRESH AIR.

The score from "LA Confidential" composed by Jerry Goldsmith who died
Wednesday. Coming up we'll listen back to an interview with Goldsmith who won
an Oscar and five Emmys for his work in film and television. Also we remember
tenor saxophonist Illinois Jacquet who died yesterday. And David Edelstein
reviews "The Bourne Supremacy."

(Soundbite of music)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Interview: Jerry Goldsmith talks about his career scoring movies
and TV shows
DAVE DAVIES, host:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies.

(Soundbite of "Chinatown")

Unidentified Man #1: Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown.

(Soundbite of footsteps; music from "Chinatown")

DAVIES: The tragedy and the romance which filled the screen in "Chinatown"
wouldn't have been the same without the lush dark score by Jerry Goldsmith.

(Soundbite of music from "Chinatown")

Unidentified Man #2: All right, come on! Clear the area! On the sidewalk!
On the sidewalk!

(Soundbite of sirens)

Unidentified Man #2: Get off the streets! Get off the streets!

(Soundbite of music from "Chinatown")

DAVIES: Composer Jerry Goldsmith died on Wednesday at his home in Beverly
Hills. He was 75. Goldsmith was one of the most prolific composers for film
and television. His film scores included "Chinatown," "Patton," "Star Trek,"
"Alien," "The Sand Pebbles," "A Patch of Blue," the original "Planet of the
Apes" and "LA Confidential." He also wrote the TV themes for "The Man from
U.N.C.L.E.," "Dr. Kildare," "The Waltons" and "Barnaby Jones." His 1976 score
for "The Omen" won an Oscar. He received another 17 Academy Award nominations
and five Emmy Awards.

Terry spoke with Jerry Goldsmith in 2002. They opened with his score from
"Patton," the World War II movie starring George C. Scott as General George
Patton.

(Soundbite of "Patton" theme)

Mr. JERRY GOLDSMITH (Composer): People talk about "Patton" as a war film. I
never viewed it as a war film. I viewed it as a personal documentary or a
biography of a man who was a warrior, yes, but there are two other aspects of
him, which I did capture in the music. He was a very religious man, in spite
of his profane personality, and he was also a total intellectual and a deep
believer of reincarnation and history, and he spoke fluent French, he was
cultured musically; I mean, the dichotomy of the man and, you know, how
profane he was, but yet there was this depth, though.

So he was a complex personality, and I tried capturing these three levels of
his personality in music by the fanfare, which has become sort of well-known,
is meant to represent the archaic part of him, the historical, the
intellectual part of him; the chorale was to represent the religious aspect of
him and, of course, the military aspect of him. It was designed
contrapuntally so that all three could be played simultaneously or
individually or two at a time, whatever.

TERRY GROSS, host:

Now you've written the themes for several TV shows--"Dr. Kildare," "The Man
from U.N.C.L.E." Both of those are on your new CD.

Mr. GOLDSMITH: Mm. And "The Waltons."

GROSS: "The Waltons." Why don't we hear the theme that you wrote for "The
Man from U.N.C.L.E."?

Mr. GOLDSMITH: OK.

GROSS: Anything you want to say about it?

Mr. GOLDSMITH: I guess during the late '50s and '60s, we all had to be
versatile, so we had to have jazz influence in our music, and so that was what
I sort of tried to do. But to make it more interesting, I originally wrote it
in five-four, which, except for Dave Brubeck, was not really a meter that was
particularly common in jazz.

And an interesting side note of this whole thing was after the first season,
they wanted to save money, and I had written it for a larger group. It was 20
players, and they wanted to cut it down to a little like four or five piece,
because they had to pay each year to re-record the theme, so they wanted to
save money. So I was unavailable, so they hired Lalo Schifrin and Lalo did a
very hip arrangement of it for a small group, and that's really what they used
for the years--however long the show was on the air was Lalo's arrangement of
the theme.

(Soundbite of "The Man from "U.N.C.L.E." theme)

GROSS: Now I want to talk about another theme that you wrote, and that's the
theme for "Chinatown," which I think is really just one of the great scores.
Let's talk about the opening theme. Is there a specific part of the movie or
a specific emotion within the movie that you wanted that opening theme to
evoke or address?

Mr. GOLDSMITH: The story was that the picture had been scored by someone
else before and they previewed it, and actually the previews in the picture
were evidently--from what I was told, were not very successful, and the music
was not very good either. I mean, I must say that when I did see the picture,
I had heard a little of the music and it was Chinese, so it seemed rather
inappropriate for the film.

So anyway, I was called in to do it, and I had to do the score in 10 days,
which is a very short period of time to do it. And the producer, Robert
Evans, had said to me, `We should have a period feel in the music,' period
feel being the style of the '30s. And I said, `Well, you've got that in this
Bunny Berigan recording you're using as--you know, it was coming off the radio
and all that.' And you see that in the cinematography, in the costumes, the
wardrobe and--the whole feel, look of the picture was '30s Los Angeles, and I
grew up--I was here as a young kid in the '30s. I know what it looked like
and felt like, and that was the amazing thing about this picture was that that
feel was so true. I said, `So musically, I want to try and go for the tragedy
of the story.'

I finished recording it, and the movie came out like three days later, so we
were really right down to the wire on it. So I didn't have a lot of time to
think. I just had to sit down and write a theme for this movie and get on
with it.

DAVIES: Film composer Jerry Goldsmith died on Wednesday at the age of 75.
Our conversation with him was recorded in 2002.

(Soundbite of music)

DAVIES: Coming up we remember another great musical figure, saxophonist
Illinois Jacquet who died yesterday.

This is FRESH AIR.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Filler: By policy of WHYY, this information is restricted and has
been omitted from this transcript

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Review: Matt Damon's new movie "The Bourne Supremacy"
DAVE DAVIES, host:

"The Bourne Supremacy" is the second in a series of thrillers by Robert Ludlum
featuring the amnesiac CIA assassin Jason Bourne. The first in the series,
"The Bourne Identity," was turned into a 2002 hit movie starring Matt Damon.
Damon is back for the sequel, which also features Joan Allen and Brian Cox.
Film critic David Edelstein has a review.

DAVID EDELSTEIN reporting:

Six months after 9/11, it was weirdly comforting to see "The Bourne Identity."
It was based on a 22-year-old novel by Robert Ludlum, and it took us back to a
Cold War era, when the only people who ever seemed to die were spies and
counterspies and the occasional overweening party apparatchik. Matt Damon
played a guy found floating off the coast of Marseilles with two bullets in
his back and the number of a Zurich safe deposit box in some sort of laser
body implant. He had no idea who he was, but he had somehow retained his
lightning martial arts reflexes, his fluency in a handful of languages and the
instincts of a superspy assassin. It was pretty silly stuff, but the film,
directed by Doug Liman, was fast, adroit, and like its hero, wonderfully
self-contained.

The sequel, "The Bourne Supremacy," is better--not better as a story; that's,
if anything, even sillier--better as a piece of grab you by the collar and
fling you all over the place filmmaking. If you'll pardon my French, it's a
tour de force. The English director, Paul Greengrass, made the amazing 2002
movie "Bloody Sunday." I almost said `the amazing documentary,' because that
film, about the Irish civil rights march of 1972 that ended in a massacre was
staged and shot like combat photography. You weren't watching a re-creation;
you were right there in the middle of the melee.

And Greengrass brings the same verite technique to the patently fictional
"Bourne Supremacy." He puts you in the street with Jason Bourne, scanning a
crowd that streaks by so fast that your eyes don't quite focus. You only
half-catch the guy with the rifle taking aim before the bullet explodes and
the world is upended. The movie has hand-to-hand fight scenes so close and
blurry and tumultuous that they summon up your fight-or-flight instincts.
It's like the filmmaker is thinking on his feet with his hero, moving fast so
he won't miss something, and making you keep up or else. You don't even want
to look down at your popcorn.

Better yet, you don't have time to think too much about the plot. When the
film begins, Bourne is in India, still in hiding, still with Marie, the love
of his life, played by Franka Potente, still trying to piece together his
memories, especially the memory of a mission, maybe in Berlin, with two people
dead. Why does it gnaw at him? Maybe for the same reason someone has framed
him for the murder of a couple of spies and is now trying to shoot him. After
he takes an agonizing leave of Marie, Bourne heads for Berlin, where CIA agent
Pamela Landy, played by Joan Allen, leads a team in pursuit. A step ahead by
reflex, Bourne manages to corner Julia Stiles as a minor and surprisingly
unsympathetic functionary. You have to picture Damon and Stiles weaving in
and out of crowds, and agents with headphones, and the editing electric and
the camera swerving all over the place.

(Soundbite of "The Bourne Supremacy")

Mr. MATT DAMON: (As Jason Bourne) What were my words? What did I say?
(Unintelligible).

Ms. JULIA STILES: (As Nicolette) I did. I swear, Jason, I told them that I
believed you.

Mr. DAMON: (As Bourne) I'm going to ask you some simple questions.

Unidentified Man #1: ...(Unintelligible) give me something. I need
something.

Unidentified Man #2: They're on it, they're on it!

Mr. DAMON: (As Bourne) Who's Pamela Landy?

Ms. STILES: (As Nicolette) She's a task force chief.

Mr. DAMON: (As Bourne) Is she running Treadstone?

Ms. STILES: (As Nicolette) No, she's the deputy director.

Mr. DAMON: (As Bourne) Why is she trying to kill me?

Ms. STILES: (As Nicolette) Last week an agency field officer tried to make a
buy off of one of her ops. He was trying to sell out a mole or something.

Mr. DAMON: (As Bourne) And?

Ms. STILES: (As Nicolette) And you got to him before we did.

Mr. DAMON: (As Bourne) I killed him.

Ms. STILES: (As Nicolette) You left a print. There were partial prints that
traced back to Treadstone. They know it was you.

Mr. DAMON: (As Bourne) That's insane.

Ms. STILES: (As Nicolette) Why are you doing this? Why come back now?

Mr. DAMON: (As Bourne) Just stop.

Ms. STILES: (As Nicolette) Landy is on...

Mr. DAMON: (As Bourne) Just stop. Last week, I was 4,000 miles away in
India. They came for me. This ends now.

EDELSTEIN: "The Bourne Supremacy" improves on its predecessor by telling two
stories. It's not just Bourne running away from police and assassins and
people in headquarters screaming, `Get Bourne!' although there is a lot of
that, come to think of it. There's also Joan Allen's Landy, trying to figure
out why so many of her higher-ups want to kill Bourne before he can talk to
anyone. Poor Bourne doesn't know what's going on, and Damon manages to play
befuddlement without the slightest loss of virility. Impassive as he is, you
can always see the wheels turning in his head. He turns the gap between his
plodding demeanor and those automatic quicksilver reflexes into something
witty and moving, even existential.

But in the end, the movie is a testament to the director's virtuosity and to
how video and documentary techniques can transform even the most familiar
material into something with astonishing immediacy. Freed from the
old-fashioned studio gloss, "The Bourne Supremacy" makes the Cold War thriller
seem born again.

DAVIES: David Edelstein is film critic for the online magazine Slate.

(Credits)

DAVIES: For Terry Gross, I'm Dave Davies.
Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

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