This story was originally published July 15, 2004.
You can hear the pressure on producer Frank Marshall's end of the phone -- the kind of tense stress that comes with post-production wrap-up on a multi-million-dollar blockbuster movie.
Voices echo in the distance from the Los Angeles Sony Studio dubbing stage as sound techs tweak the final reel of "The Bourne Supremacy." They are preparing for a series of advance screenings that will bring the film, Marshall and actor Matt Damon to Boise on Saturday.
The movie is the second spy thriller starring Damon as Jason Bourne, an amnesiac who discovers that he is a highly trained CIA assassin.
Of course, the pressure on the dubbing stage is not the kind that comes with filming in different European cities, dealing with extreme weather, non-English speaking extras and the occasional disaster that can befall a film set. Marshall, with more than 100 films under his belt, breezes through that these days. But this step is just as important.
Success is in the details, Marshall says as he leaves the commotion and turns his attention to his cell phone and an interview he'll do for Boise, a city that holds a special charm for him.
This is the third time in three years that Marshall has brought a film and a star to support Boise Contemporary Theater. First it was "The Bourne Identity" with Damon in 2002, then "Seabiscuit" with Gary Stevens in 2003. Back in the 1970s and '80s, Marshall opened one of the "Indiana Jones, " and "Back to the Future" films in Boise. Now, it's "Supremacy" and another appearance by Damon.
"One of the reasons I keep coming back to Boise is I have a lot of great friends there, " he says. "Some go back to high school. I think that's the key to keeping your feet on the ground and your eye on the ball. I think some people get caught up in the business down here and they don't see what real life and the real world is. I like to keep in touch with all those things."
Jovial and low-key, Marshall hardly seems the type to have Hollywood mega-powers such as Steven Spielberg programmed into his cell phone. (Which he does. "That's mostly business, " Marshall says.)
Mostly, but not all business. Marshall carries a reputation for making and maintaining deep professional friendships.
"That's one of the things that you try and strive for in life, is work and personal relationships that go together and are enjoyable. When you're working 17-hour days, it's good to have your friends around you -- people you enjoy."
That quality makes him a dream to work with, says Pat Crowley, a colleague and co-producer on "Bourne."
"He's very unusual, particularly for a seasoned producer, " Crowley says.
"Some people get the job through force, threats, intimidation or heavy politics. Frank doesn't do that at all. When something goes wrong, his initial instinct is, 'What do we need to do to fix it?' not "Whose fault is it?'
"That makes a difference between a producer you want to partner with or want to work for, and that's why Frank has such a sterling reputation. He's just a really good guy."
Those sensibilities were certainly challenged by the "Bourne" films. They're fraught with challenges that start with the story concepts.
Bourne on the go
Once they received the go-ahead for the sequel, Marshall dove into the project with screenwriter Tony Gilroy to make Robert Ludlum's Cold War trilogy fit a modern, post-collapse world.
"Everything is obsolete now as far as who the bad guys are and what the CIA is like, so we pretty much had to create our own story, " Marshall says.
"In 'Identity, ' we took one idea from the book -- the assassin who wakes up and doesn't know who he is."
In "Supremacy, " the basic idea was that the CIA wanted Jason Bourne back. Then Marshall and Gilroy layered their own take -- that the character, still struggling with his memory, is on a path of redemption, sort of a modern-day samurai's journey.
"He's really trying to discover not only who he is but what kind of person he was. He still has amnesia but he's hoping -- and certainly his girlfriend Marie is hoping -- he was a good guy, " Marshall says.
Bourne on the edge
"The Bourne Identity" broke the mold of a spy action thriller by casting the boy-next-door Damon against type as the cold-blooded killer and infusing the film with a complex and intelligent plot.
"Supremacy, " the second in a possible trilogy for the characters, takes Damon and Franka Potente's Marie to an even darker place that ups the film's sense of grit and reality, Marshall says.
The "Bourne" films have been directed by edgy, indie directors who give each film a fresh look and feel. There's also a downside to that.
Doug Liman ("Swingers"), who directed "Identity, " and now docudrama filmmaker Paul Greengrass ("Bloody Sunday"), had never worked on such a large scale before.
The indie feel is what audiences seem to like so much, Crowley says.
"Audiences tend to adopt these films because they're less mainstream. When you find the directors who can deliver that, you find they haven't dealt with the $60-$70 million level film, " Crowley says.
Marshall is a leader in that kind of cool-headed producing, Crowley says.
Bourne to produce
Marshall started in the film industry by chance. He grew up in Laguna Beach, Calif., the son of a musical composer who worked in films.
He went to school and played in a folk band with friends Pug Ostling and Jeff Pierose, who both moved to Boise.
"I was in the I-don't-know-what-I-want-to-do mode and I got a chance to work on a low-budget movie in 1967 called 'Target Switch.' I volunteered to work for free and I fell in love with making movies."
And he found he had an talent for it. On that film, Marshall met director Peter Bogdanovich and spent the next several years working with him on projects such as "The Last Picture Show, " for which he was the location manager. On "Paper Moon" in 1973, Marshall became an associate producer, and by 1976's "Nickelodeon" he was a full-on producer working to help the director achieve his vision within budget.
From there he went on to co-produce the "Indiana Jones" and "Back to the Future" film series and nearly 100 other titles, including "Poltergeist, " "The Color Purple, " "Who Framed Roger Rabbit, " "The Sixth Sense" and "Seabiscuit."
His current projects include a film he will direct about a pack of sled dogs that survive on their own in Antarctica. He also recently bought the rights to cycle superstar Lance Armstrong's story and plans to travel to Paris later this month to watch Armstrong win a possible sixth Tour de France.
If "Supremacy" does as expected at the box office, Marshall expects to add the third Ludlum novel, "The Bourne Ultimatum" to the list.