According to Variety, Universal has inked Tony Gilroy to pen The Bourne Ultimatum in a deal believed to be worth just north of $2 million.

The pact is the first step in getting the third installment of U's successful spy franchise off the ground.

Ultimatum is the third Robert Ludlum adaptation for Gilroy after 2002's The Bourne Identity and last year's The Bourne Supremacy. But both pics have been loose adaptations, picking up Ludlum's creation of a master assassin who has lost his memory.

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Matt Damon has publicly expressed interest in reprising his role as Jason Bourne, but no deal is expected until after Gilroy's script comes back in.

Likewise, studio is holding off discussions on who'll direct. The Bourne Identity was helmed by Doug Liman, while Paul Greengrass directed last year's The Bourne Supremacy.

Gilroy's other writing credits include Armageddon, Proof Of Life and The Devil's Advocate. He is writing Michael Clayton for Section Eight and Read My Lips for Paramount.

Brian B.