Damon assumes a new ‘Identity’

Thesp interested after Pitt joins 'Game'

NEW YORK — Matt Damon is near a deal to star for director Doug Liman in Universal’s adaptation of the Robert Ludlum bestseller “The Bourne Identity.” The film is expected to begin production this fall.

The adaptation, being steered by exec veep Allison Brecker and prexy Kevin Misher, has been one of the highest-profile projects in the Universal arsenal since Liman signed on. Damon became interested recently (Daily Variety, May 25) after Brad Pitt fell out due to availability problems after he committed to star with Robert Redford in the Tony Scott-directed “Spy Game” for Universal and Beacon.

In “Bourne,” Damon will play a man who washes up on an island, near death from gunshot wounds. He has no recollection of what happened, or even who he is, with a bank account number concealed on his body providing the only clue. The amnesiac tries to figure out his identity, unleashing a chain of events and would-be assassins who are out to kill him.

Damon, who most recently completed “All the Pretty Horses” for director Billy Bob Thornton, is also working with director Jim Sheridan on an outline to see if they might team on a Fox 2000 adaptation of “I Know This Much Is True,” the bestselling Wally Lamb novel about a man’s attempt to take care of his twisted identical twin.

Damon is repped by CAA.

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