Jason Bourne filmed European action on Tenerife
Matt Damon’s new action sequel Jason Bourne filmed Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands as multiple international locations.
The movie is the fifth in the Jason Bourne action franchise that first launched with The Bourne Identity in 2002.
Much of Jason Bourne was shot on Tenerife, which as part of the Canaries offers a generous 35% tax credit as a filming incentive.
Local servicing was provided by Sur-Film and the island ended up doubling for locations across Europe including Reykjavik, Macedonia, Beirut and Rome.
“Tenerife provided the production with a nice one-stop location where we could get all those looks brought together,” said producer Gregory Goodman.
“The Beirut piece was especially surprising - we shot it on a sidewalk right near where our Athens scenes were shot, and yet it really does feel like Beirut, like a whole other part of the world.”
Athens’ Syntagma Square was recreated in the island's capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the Jason Bourne team carefully staged a riot on their dressed set. The airport doubled separately for both Reykjavik and Athens through the use of different signage and sound design that used native-language background announcements to complete the illusion.
“The pleasant surprise that we had in Tenerife was the quality of the background extras or actors,” said Goodman. “You never know when you go somewhere new how that’s going to play out.”
Jason Bourne’s finale took the production team to Las Vegas for about three months to plan and execute a shoot that involved staging a dramatic vehicle chase sequence on the iconic Vegas Strip.
Producers in fact compressed the Nevada filming schedule by working constant 24-hour cycles, the first unit by day and the second unit shooting the chase sequence by night as Damon and other cast members moved between the two.
The stunt team spent a month practising the chase sequence in a spacious Los Angeles car park before filming began in Las Vegas. Working alongside worse-for-wear individuals on the Strip at the crack of dawn each day was a location-specific challenge.
“Until about 2am, it wasn’t too bad,” said stunt-co-ordinator Gary Powell. “About 4am was the time when they weren’t as conscious of what they were doing - that’s when we really had to pay attention to the people. They weren’t always aware that there were cars flying up and down the road.”
Las Vegas is a popular setting for movies and TV shows but the city is a financially challenging filming location as Nevada offers only limited incentive support.
Most Vegas-set films and TV shows usually shoot for only a few days in the city before recreating key locations in other parts of the US. Some of Vegas’ bigger hotels have their own film departments to make specific deals with productions looking to shoot locally.
The Jason Bourne team returned the franchise to London to build the movie’s CIA ‘hub space’ on a sound stage at Warner Bros. Leavesden Studios.
A key feature of all the Bourne films, the hub is the base from where the intelligence services track Bourne’s movements around the world and mobilise their own resources. Locations across London also doubled for multiple European cities to maximise the team’s efficiency of movement.
The UK remains one of the world’s top filming locations due to its generous tax credits, experienced crews and world-class studio facilities.
For more on filming in Spain see our production guide.
Images: Universal Pictures