Production is rapidly forging ahead on the upcoming fourth entry in the popular "Bourne" franchise, directed by Tony Gilroy.
Here's what we know: the movie, slated to come out in 2012, is called "The Bourne Legacy" and will further explore the series mythology by introducing a new bad guy assassin who is tangled up with the mysterious government agency Treadstone. And Matt Damon won't be starring in it.
And because Damon won't be there, "Bourne Legacy" won't have Bourne in it at all. Instead, it'll feature an all-new superspy as the main character living in his world. This got us to thinking -- who in Hollywood has the stones to step into Damon's iconic shoes?
The possibilities are pretty much endless -- Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Alex O'Laughlin? Seth Rogen? -- but we've managed to narrow it down to a few worthy finalists. Here, then, are our top picks for the role of America's top secret agent:
Hey, if one hardscrabble Boston boy isn't available, why not turn to another instead? Wahlberg's proven in films like "Shooter" and "The Departed" that he's got the action gene and the acting chops to pull off the dramatic mix that the "Bourne" franchise demands. His biggest problem would probably be finding time in his busy schedule to fit in another film.
As Russell "Stringer" Bell on "The Wire," Elba blew away critics and fans alike, but so far he hasn't found the right film franchise to turn him into the superstar he so obviously deserves to be; "Bourne Legacy" would be a big step up from stuff like "The Losers," for instance. This needs to happen.
Are we the only ones who think Pine is Damon's secret brother or something? He's got that perfect, clean-cut, all-American look and would make a fitting follow-up to Damon's corn-fed goodness. Plus, thanks to 'Star Trek," he's already proven he can headline a successful relaunch, a vital skill given the iffiness of staging a "Bourne" production sans Bourne himself.
Who says we can't have a Jill Bourne, right? Rapace enthralled audiences as the tough-as-nails computer hacker Lisbeth Salander in foreign version of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" series and she's fast becoming Hollywood's hottest new commodity. We'd love to see what she can do in a big budget, high profile espionage thriller like "The Bourne Legacy."
We wanted to make sure Rapace wasn't the only pretty face on the list, so we included the dewey-eyed Gyllenhaal as the sensitive man's action hero. But don't let those baby-faced looks fool you: behind that boyish exterior lies the heart of a cold blooded action killer, as proven in films like "Jarhead" and "Prince of Persia."
Let's think: what does the star of a "Bourne" movie need to do? He needs to be able to pull off action sequences; he needs to be able to do some deep brooding; and he needs to do both while looking good. A brooding, good looking action star? That's what Pattinson's business cards say, people. Could there be a more perfect fit for the part than RPattz? We didn't think so either.
Okay, so Glover, who's best known as Troy Barnes on the popular sitcom "Community," isn't exactly the most obvious choice for the role. But that's why we think he would be so great. Why go for the expected when you can go for the unexpected? Plus, we're still disappointed that he didn't land the lead in "Spider-man," so this seems like the next best thing. Are you listening, Hollywood?
OK, so now that you have our supreme seven, tell us what you think!
(All photos by Getty Images)