How Many Lines Does Matt Damon Have in Jason Bourne?

In 1991, Arnold Schwarzenegger was paid $15 million to star in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, a movie where he only speaks 700 worlds in 137 minutes. That’s roughly $21,429 per word. Earlier this year, everyone slowly realized that Henry Cavill’s Superman had very little to say in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, even though his character’s name was in the title. He only has 43 lines of dialogue in the whole movie.

So the news that Matt Damon apparently only speaks about 25 lines of dialogue in the upcoming Jason Bourne isn’t completely out of the ordinary. Heroes who speak little and let their actions do the talking for them have been staples ever since Clint Eastwood put on a cowboy hat and squinted his eyes at the desert heat. So just go ahead and consider this your cool trivia of the day.

This news comes from a new profile in The Guardian (via The Playlist), where it was revealed that the decision to have Bourne speak so little in his fourth big screen outing had less to do with Damon suddenly deciding that he doesn’t want to talk and more to do with everyone agreeing that it was the right choice for the character at this point in his existence. Here’s Damon himself on the decision make the character a man of very few words:

Well, I’ve done it three times. In the first movie, the Marie Kreutz character is still alive, so Bourne has a sounding board and he’s more confused about who he is and a lot more chatty. Once she dies in the first act of the second movie, it’s really a very lonely character. And we talked about that mostly on the second one. I remember [screenwriter] Tony [Gilroy] writing me an email saying, ‘You do realize what this means? You do realize you’re not going to talk in this movie.’ I said, ‘No, I love that.'”

I can think of so many action movie series where the lone hero is stuck with revolving door of sidekicks and single serving love interests just so he has someone to talk with. The great, weird magic of the Bourne movies is that all of the exposition dumps that belong to the hero in most movies end up belonging to the villains – they stand around their officers and watch satellite feeds and worry out loud, letting the audience know exactly what’s going on because Bourne is one step ahead of them at all times. Jason Bourne is the kind of character who doesn’t even need to talk. He was already the Hollywood man of action with all of the unnecessary bits and bobs removed, a super-spy who let his fists and wits do the talking. And now they’re going to do all of his talking for him, it seems.

Jason Bourne, which also sees the return of director Paul Greengrass to the series, opens on July 29, 2016.

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