LOS ANGELES—Actor Ben Affleck, best known for his role in the 2003 film Daredevil, told reporters Monday he would really like to see action hero Jason Bourne, played by longtime friend Matt Damon, acquire a sidekick in his next film.
"I was thinking that the character, who would probably be Bourne's childhood friend, could really breathe some new life into the series," said Affleck, adding that the Jason Bourne character ran the risk of boring American audiences if the superspy wasn't allowed to show a more human side in his films. "I envision the sidekick as being taller, slightly beefier, and having darker hair than Bourne. He may not be the smartest, but he could provide comic relief and would always look out for his best friend."
"I know a few people who would play the part," the Jersey Girl and Gigli star continued. "Hell, even I would put some projects aside to do it if that's what the producers wanted."
According to Affleck, the fourth film in the Bourne franchise, which has traditionally taken place in European locales but was most recently set in New York City, needs a refreshing location that would surprise filmgoers, such as gritty South Boston. Just moments after the opening credits, the amnesiac CIA assassin would learn that he grew up there, had an abusive childhood, dropped out of high school, and once worked as a janitor at a local college.
Affleck said he ultimately imagined the film as being less a traditional spy thriller and more about friendship and the importance of realizing one's true potential.
"The sidekick represents the kind of life Bourne would have lived had he never gone off and become a hotshot CIA agent with a big-time career," said Affleck, who described the new character as having suffered a string of bad luck and made a number of poor life choices. "Basically, his character would kill to have Bourne's natural fighting and spying ability, but it's his role in the movie to show Bourne that even though he is a very gifted and talented individual, he should never leave his old friends behind."
Though Affleck, who offered to write the script for free, anticipates more lengthy scenes of dialogue than is typical for a Bourne film, he promised the movie would not be without its signature fight sequences. Affleck said he had already storyboarded one scene, set at a Boston Red Sox game, in which Bourne, the sidekick, and another high school friend, played by director Kevin Smith, get into a fast-paced drunken argument over the film Star Wars and each of their respective mothers.
"How do you like them apples?" said Affleck, referring to what the sidekick could theoretically say after Bourne breaks the necks of several security guards at Fenway Park.
Affleck, who won a Teen Choice Award for his work in 2001's Pearl Harbor, said he plans to pitch the idea to Damon the next time the two see each other, hopefully at an Emmy Awards after-party next month. If Affleck loses his invitation for the event Damon is attending, as he reportedly did last year, he and Damon will discuss the project during one of the rare weekends in which Damon is not working on a film and both actors happen to be at home in their native Massachusetts at the same time.
"I really think he'll go for this," Affleck said. "I know Matt Damon better than anyone in the world, and I just know he's going to love this. I know it. He just has to."
While admitting that a fourth Bourne film has not been discussed, executive producer Doug Liman agreed that a sidekick character might be worth exploring. Liman wrote in an e-mail Friday that he already had a short list of possible candidates for the role, including Vince Vaughn, John C. Reilly, Luke Wilson, Tim Robbins, Minnie Driver, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Casey Affleck, Don Cheadle, and Adam Sandler.