Matt gave an interview to Variety where he talks the new Bourne movie, The Martian and Star Wars.
On a break, finally, from shooting the latest installment of the “Bourne” franchise, actor Matt Damon made it to Los Angeles earlier this month to discuss his work in Ridley Scott’s “The Martian.” With a worldwide box office haul approaching $600 million and plenty of Oscar buzz heading into 2016, it could net him a nomination for a largely solitary performance. He spoke to Variety about the importance of maintaining a light and positive tone in the film, letting time go by before circling back to the Jason Bourne character and how anyone at any time is on the verge of breaking out in this business. Oh, and “Star Wars,” too. Because “Star Wars.”
So do you and Tom Hanks ever commiserate about having acted opposite, you know, nothing for long stretches?
[Laughs.] You know what, I’ve thought about this, obviously, because I’ve had this question asked of me. But the key difference is, when I first met Ridley [Scott] about this, he said he always wanted to do “Robinson Crusoe,” and he felt like this was his chance. And then as we got into it we realized the key distinction is that in “Robinson Crusoe” — or in “Cast Away,” for that matter — the journey the character is going on, it’s about whether or not anybody is ever going to know that he was alive. Whereas the character in this is surrounded by these GoPros and every minute that he’s staying alive on Mars is a minute longer than anybody has ever been there and he’s got kind of a purpose. He’s got this chance to record for his colleagues the experience that he’s having. So that feeling of being useful is kind of the exact opposite of the existential crisis that somebody who’s marooned on a desert island goes through, which is, “Oh my God, is anybody ever going to know that this happened?”
And with a story like this, often you might have some sort of “back home” context, either family or friends that contextualizes the character, that the character is eager to get back to. You didn’t really have that in the text of the script here, so what kind of background work did you do to really get where he was coming from?
When I looked at it I felt like Andy [Weir], the novelist, did that, because what he was really interested in was kind of the thought experiment of whether or not somebody could survive. In the interviews I read with him, and subsequently when I talked to him, he said, “I just came up with that premise and then let the science steer the story.” So he wasn’t concerned with writing a novel about a guy. He was more concerned about, “All right, who would a person who could survive this incredibly challenging situation be? OK, he would be a botanist. He would be an astronaut.” And he kind of worked backward from there. So I think a family or a wife at home or kids or something would’ve felt, in an odd way, kind of an extra layer of artificiality to the movie or a conceit or whatever. It’s a pretty lean, focused story. We talked about it but it just didn’t feel right. And it felt good that you don’t know what he’s trying to get back to. He could be anyone. His story could be anyone’s.
What did that do for you as an actor in trying to bring that sort of inner life out when you’re dealing with something that’s so plot-driven, particularly given that you don’t exactly have sparring partners to help with that illumination?
I think any actor carries their own emotional baggage. It’s not that you go in there and there’s a vacuum. You go in there full and kind of, depending on the role, you’re teasing different things out. But he wasn’t a total cipher. I knew that he had gone through this training. In the book they go into detail about the training and how he’s particularly suited to this kind of work. Like, these guys who we send out there, they have to be incredible cooperators and they have to have this incredible positive outlook. Like one astronaut said to me, he goes, “We’re this kind of strange thing where we have to be very smart and there’s all these Ph.D.’s and all these very brilliant minds, but we have to be stupid enough to sit on X numbers of thousand pounds of rocket fuel and get launched into outer space.”
You have to be a little crazy, I guess.
Yeah. Yeah. They were doing this thing with the six astronauts who are literally pretending that they’re living on Mars and they’re sealed into this habitat together for like a year and they cannot leave unless there’s a medical emergency. Because we’re studying the effects of this type of work on the human psyche. It’s so much for a human being to endure. So [the character is] particularly well-suited to that and well-trained for this type of thing. When he comes up with this idea of these GoPros all over the habitat, those just become his de facto Wilson, basically. Although he’s recording these things and the expectation is that someday someone is going to come and retrieve these and they’re going to watch them. So even though he’s sending those missives out into nowhere, they are being recorded for posterity’s sake and he is operating under the expectation that he’s being watched, that he’s, like, in a lab. I think that’s something that buoys him, that keeps him going.
Article via Vanity Fair.
Who would win in a fight between Matt Damon’s super-soldier Jason Bourne and Ben Affleck’s superhero Batman? According Damon, Bourne would reign supreme.
Damon and Affleck never needed an excuse to hang out; the long-time friends were often spotted together even when they had no specific joint project in the works. But now that the pair have officially brought their old series Project Greenlight back to life on HBO, we can have regular doses of the Matt and Ben power hour Sunday nights on HBO. And anyone familiar with the Damon/Affleck friendship knows that the two have no mercy when it comes to teasing each other.
“Jason Bourne would kick the s–t out of Batman — absolutely!” Damon told Entertainment Weekly. “Batman’s gotta take on Superman first. If he could beat him, then maybe he could take on Jason Bourne.” I buy it. Sure, Batfleck probably has batarangs and other wonderful toys, but have you seen what Bourne can do with just a book?
We all know how this goes with Damon and Affleck by now. First comes the teasing joke, then comes the retaliation. I expect Affleck and Jimmy Kimmel are cooking up some delicious revenge at this very moment. Keep your eyes peeled for The Bat Supremacy.
As for Damon, he has no plans to play a traditional cape-wearing hero any time soon. “I think they’re kind of out of superheroes,” Damon said. “Ben’s going to be like the sixth or seventh Batman, so I don’t think there’s really any left. So I’m good. Jason Bourne is my superhero.”
Though it likely wasn’t his intention, Damon actually makes a great point about the recent debate over the superhero movie craze. Earlier this month, Steven Spielberg said the trend was sure to end soon. “We were around when the Western died and there will be a time when the superhero movie goes the way of the Western.” But while capes and tights trend may fade someday, moviegoing audiences will always be invested in superheroes be they enhanced spies like Bourne, or the other seemingly indestructible protagonists of franchises like The Transporter, Fast & Furious, Mad Max, Crank, and Resident Evil. (To name just a few.) They may not have capes, but as Damon points out in his claim that Bourne can best Batfleck, they’re pretty super.
You can compare Damon and Affleck’s fighting skills for yourself when both the latest Bourne installment and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice open in 2016.
Through his organization Water.org, Matt Damon is determined to put an end to the profound crisis that a child under the age of 5 dies every 21 seconds because he or she doesn’t have access to clean water. This crisis affects almost 780 million people worldwide. The charity is dedicated to helping communities in developing countries throughout Africa, the Americas, and South Asia fund projects that provide long-term, sustainable solutions, thereby ending desperate searches for potable water.
We chatted with him inside our TIFF portrait studio about his cause, which he first told us back in January has “helped more than a million people, and we believe we can reach millions more.” Read below for more on his incredible efforts:
You’re able to and you do give back a lot. What was the reason you decided to be a part of water.org?
Just looking at issues in this world, water was just such a huge part of the entire problem–water and sanitation. Every 21 seconds a child dies from lack of access to clean water and sanitation. It’s something that’s impossible for us to almost wrap our brains around because we’re never thirsty. We grew up with a kitchen sink being as far as we have to go to get clean water and we all grew up with toilets. Maybe we had grandparents who had to deal with things like that, but for the most part, we don’t have these kinds of problems, so the concept that children are dying by the millions every year is something that a lot of people don’t know. Having been to some of these communities and seeing the way that kids are missing school, I realized that there’s a chance to have a big impact on a lot of people’s lives.
Tell us about about some of the hands-on efforts.
We’re helping people get loans so that they can basically be participants in solving their own problems. We’re able to help a much greater number of people than if we were just drilling wells. About half of water projects historically around the world fail for a whole host of reasons, but with this microfinance piece that we use we’ve actually had incredible success with these loans, and we’ve brought water sanitation to over 3 million people. So it’s a very good start. We have a long way to go but it’s something that we’re really proud of.
New Bourne movie? Yes, please! Via Deadline:
DEADLINE EXCLUSIVE: Jason Bourne is coming back. Universal Pictures has begun making deals with Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass to reunite for their third film in The Bourne Identity series, sources tell me. This is an absolute stunner — and Universal would not comment nor would the reps — because Greengrass told Deadline as recently as last year that once Bourne regained his memory, there was no place else for the character to go creatively. His search formed the spine for the trilogy Damon starred in.
Well, they’ve figured it out. I’m told that the studio is so bullish on this that the intention is to make the reteam the next Bourne film to go into production to make the July 16, 2016, release slot that Universal had previously assigned to an untitled Bourne film. That means it would step in front of the spinoff sequel that is to reprise Jeremy Renner and be directed by Fast & Furious architect Justin Lin. That film, which began with the Tony Gilroy-directed The Bourne Legacy, remains in development. I thought its premise— Renner plays one of several genetically altered assassins, all of whom are targeted for death — was smart and satisfying on its own. Universal intends to continue that series and to broaden its franchise base, much the way that Marvel cranks out superhero films. The Bourne Legacy was a good start to a new franchise, but Jason Bourne is a hard act to follow. Now, franchise-hungry Universal has both of them. Lin can probably use the time, as he signed on to direct the second season of the HBO series True Detective.
I saw The Equalizer as it premiered in Toronto, and it reminded me of The Bourne Identity, in that both are sophisticated adult thriller franchises where the protagonists are capable of high-action exploits but aren’t running around in spandex. Even though I could not get corroboration, I am confident enough to say that, probably very soon, these deals will all be done and that fans will be pretty happy to have Bourne back.
Both Damon and Greengrass are perpetually busy. Damon next stars for Ridley Scott in The Martian, and Greengrass has several projects percolating, most recently circling at Fox The Ballad Of Richard Jewell, the story of the security guard at the Atlanta Olympics who uncovered a suspicious backpack and cleared the crowd away from a park before it exploded, only to be vilified as a possible terrorist in the advent of the 24-hour news cycle. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill are going to star in that one, and Captain Phillips scribe Billy Ray has penned the script. Damon’s repped by WME, Greengrass by CAA.
Matt talks about Interstellar, where he has a small role
Matt Damon has been caught in conversation with both Hitfix and MTV news saying that Christopher Nolan’s upcoming science fiction film Intersteller- starring Matthew McConaughey- will be nothing short of special.
Damon gushed about the duo (Nolan and McConaughey) whilst being interviewed by Hitfix and MTV for his other film Monuments Men. Read parts of the interview below:
Matt Damon on:
Christopher NolanHe’s a guy who is working on a very big canvas and there are very few people who can work on that big a canvas and make consistently great movies. I loved, loved, working with him. Matt (Matthew McConaughey) and I had a lot of fun too.
On Matthew McConaugheyYou know I think the movie’s just going to be great. Matthew is the star of the movie and he’s just on fire right now and he’s really locked in.
Talk about being in the zone, he’s really just crushing everything right now and I think its just going to be great. I think it’s gonna be just another big, awesome Chris Nolan movie with awesome performances from Matthew and Anne Hathaway.
“Shield” creator Shawn Ryan is one of the writers that will be tackling the adaptation of the Ed Brubaker comic.
Sleeper, Warner Bros.’ long in-development adaptation of the Ed Brubaker DC Comics/Wildstorm comic, is waking up once more.
Originally being developed as a vehicle for Tom Cruise with Sam Raimi and Josh Donen producing, Sleeper will now be produced by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Jennifer Todd.
Additionally, Shawn Ryan, creator of the acclaimed cop drama The Shield, and David Wiener, a writer and playwright whose credits include AMC’s gritty cop show The Killing, are attached to write the screenplay.
Sleeper, which ran from 2003-05 and had art by Sean Phillips, centers on an operative whose fusion with an alien artifact makes him impervious to pain and allows him to pass it on to others through skin contact. He is placed undercover in a villainous organization by an intelligence agency and falls for a member of the group, named Miss Misery.
The comic featured characters from WildC.A.T.S. and Gen 13.
Scans from April 19th issue of Entertainment Weekly are up in the gallery, there’s a feature on Elysium. Thanks Ali from Drew Barrymore Online for the scans!
Matt Damon is set to appear on Jimmy Kimmel on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday, January 24th.
This will be his first “Official” appearance on the show. As you probably remember, Matt usually just gets bumped off the show. Will he finally be actually interviewed?
Set your DVRs: Matt Damon will finally submit to an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday, Jan. 24. And “may God help Damon if he dares show his stupid face,” Kimmel said in a statement.
For nearly as long as he’s hosted Jimmy Kimmel Live, the comedian has had the same show-ending tradition: Apologizing and saying that he’s been forced to bump his last guest of the night, Matt Damon. In 2006, Kimmel finally welcomed Damon onto the show for the first time — only to inform his guest as soon as he sat down that their time was up.
Damon got his revenge in 2008 by co-starring with Kimmel’s then-girlfriend Sarah Silverman in “I’m F—ing Matt Damon,” a viral video that inspired an equally popular sequel, “I’m F—ing Ben Affleck.” In the years since, Damon has done cameo appearances in several pre-taped Live comedy bits, including this extended sketch from 2010′s post-Oscars episode — but he’s never sat on Jimmy’s couch for a regular interview.
This week, Jimmy Kimmel Live moved to an earlier time slot, where it competes directly against Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The Damon interview could help the show regain the ratings victory it claimed on Tuesday and lost on Wednesday — even (and especially) if the whole thing ends up being an elaborate prank.
A great new article from Improper Bostonian and photoshoot!
A suite on the 31st floor of the Waldorf Towers is a study in costly surfaces. Celeste blue wallpaper, cabriole legs, curtains slung in dangling brocade. The armchairs are plashed in old silk, the prints are a-trot with thoroughbreds. It is, in short, a stage.
In a chair by the tea service, John Krasinski is talking with the fluid animation of an Ivy League grad bolstered by nine seasons of an international hit sitcom and a marriage to Emily Blunt.
“It’s not about the control,” he says, referring to the production of his new movie, Promised Land. “It was about the camaraderie.”
As if on cue, one of the world’s top box office draws—and Promised Land’s costar and cowriter—arrives. Matt Damon is polite, even courtly, although his hair is shaved in a penal crop from reshoots on Neill Blomkamp’s upcoming sci-fi flick, Elysium. After shaking hands he swerves towards the refreshments tray, his brow furrowed over the breakfast china.
“Did you try the coffee?” asks the voice of Jason Bourne.
“No, is it good?” replies the voice of Jim from The Office.
“Well, mine wasn’t. Mine was really watered down. Maybe it came from the same pot.… We’re about to find out.” He sloshes it into a hotel issue cup. “No, no, no, no. This is much more rich.”
“They give me the good stuff,” laughs Krasinski. Rapidfire, Damon tosses shreds of muffin into his mouth and scoots up a chair.
“Awesome,” he says. “I’m in.”
People didn’t expect Matt Damon’s second major co-writing credit to appear alongside the name of John Krasinski. “Matt and Ben” is as much of a pop culture cliché as “My boy’s wicked smaht.” Krasinski’s former colleague on The Office, Mindy Kaling, made her name with those names, writing a play about how Good Will Hunting got made. But when the Internet started jabbering about an upcoming screenplay by Krasinski and Damon, it seemed like a natural match. Damon was a superstar, and by the second season of The Office, Krasinski had supplanted Barney Frank as Newton’s favorite son—his eyebrow alone expresses as much submission to cosmic absurdity as Camus’ Myth of Sisyphus. And hometown ties count.
A great article on NY Times, which will be in print this sunday. Thanks Ali for the heads up!
“IT’S the moment every actor actually fears,” Matt Damon said, looking around a suite at the Waldorf-Astoria in mock terror.
The night before he’d been at Cipriani, of all harrowing places, to receive a tribute at the Gotham Independent Film Awards. “It was one of those career achievements that makes me feel like it’s over for me,” he said, not entirely seriously. John Krasinski, a star of “The Office” on NBC, had presented the award. Now he sat grinning in the next chair. The two men wore suspiciously similar sweaters.
“How did you like your time here, Matt?” Mr. Krasinski asked, affecting a stern tone.
“Wait, what, sorry?” Mr. Damon said, playing along. He mimed being dragged away. “Then they take you in the back room ——”
“And shiv you,” Mr. Krasinski finished, with evident relish.
The banter was spontaneous, the rapport hard-earned. Mr. Damon, 42, and Mr. Krasinski, 33, are friends; they met through Mr. Krasinski’s wife, the actress Emily Blunt, when she starred opposite Mr. Damon in last year’s romantic thriller “The Adjustment Bureau.” They’re also collaborators and co-stars in a new movie, “Promised Land.” Their ease at improvising a scene is the result of practice. In addition to acting in “Promised Land” they wrote and produced the film, running lines and hammering out drafts in between day jobs, working weekends alongside Mr. Damon’s four rambunctious children in his Los Angeles home.
The film, directed by Gus Van Sant, concerns what happens when a natural gas company comes to a small town somewhere in the Marcellus Shale in the rural Northeast, intent on persuading the town’s working-class residents to allow the company to drill on their land. Mr. Damon plays Steve Butler, a blithely confident representative of the drilling company; Mr. Krasinski plays Dustin Noble, an earnest environmental activist with a nasty edge. At issue is the technique of fracking, the controversial method that the company in the film uses to extract gas, and the corrosive influence of the vast wealth that Mr. Damon’s character can promise and that Mr. Krasinski’s character is intent on resisting.
In an interview Mr. Van Sant described “Promised Land” as a “simple learning film,” an earnest, Capraesque meditation on the conflicting dictates of stewardship, hardship economics and fraying community values. By Mr. Damon’s standards, it’s a small movie, made for a modest budget of about $15 million and opening Friday in a limited number of theaters. (A wider release will come in January.) But it’s also a turning point — and something of a departure — for both Mr. Damon, who was scheduled to direct “Promised Land” before bowing out at the last moment, and Mr. Krasinski, whose show “The Office” is ending after an eight-year run.
“I feel like I’m on a precipice, jumping off for good,” Mr. Krasinski said. “To not be sure what’s next after that is completely terrifying.”
For Mr. Damon the stakes are equally real, if more elusive. He does not exactly lack for work. Last year he starred in Cameron Crowe’s “We Bought a Zoo,” Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion” and George Nolfi’s “Adjustment Bureau,” among other high-profile films, and next year he’ll be in “Elysium,” a science-fiction blockbuster from the director Neill Blomkamp. When shooting went long on that film, Mr. Damon was forced to give up the director’s chair on “Promised Land” for lack of time to prepare.
Uncharacteristically “Promised Land” will be the only film that Mr. Damon appears in this year. And that, he said, is a point of pride. “It’s a different feeling to work this in depth with a movie. Usually we show up, and we’re the mercenaries.”
His longtime friend Ben Affleck noted that it was neither easy nor politically simple for an actor of Mr. Damon’s stature to take a year off to work on his own project. “His career is full of the most extraordinary opportunities that an actor could ever dream of. So naturally the instinct isn’t to just turn away from that and say, ‘Let me sit at home staring at a blank page for six months.’ ”
On “Promised Land” Mr. Damon and Mr. Krasinski did everything from recruiting the cast, which also includes Rosemarie DeWitt, Hal Holbrook and Frances McDormand, to scouting locations. That involvement provided “a much richer and deeper feeling of ownership,” Mr. Damon said.
The film may be Mr. Van Sant’s first collaboration with Mr. Krasinski, who previously wrote and directed an adaptation of David Foster Wallace’s “Brief Interviews With Hideous Men.” But Mr. Van Sant and Mr. Damon have some history together. The director is fond of recalling a wager he was once tempted to make with the producer Laura Ziskin, back when Mr. Damon was an unknown actor auditioning for a part in Mr. Van Sant’s mordant comedy “To Die For.”
“He came in, he did a regular reading like everybody else, and when he left, the producer said, ‘That’s a movie star.’ ” Mr. Van Sant recalled. “You meet a lot of magnanimous, forthcoming, attractive, intelligent, talented people in your casting sessions. But somehow she just thought he was the thing. And if I was asked to bet — like a Las Vegas bet — I would’ve voted against.”
Most moviegoers know the rest of this story. Mr. Damon did not get the part. But he and his writing partner, Mr. Affleck, did eventually win Mr. Van Sant over, persuading him to take on a screenplay of theirs called “Good Will Hunting.” That script led Mr. Damon and Mr. Affleck to an Oscar, cementing their reign at the end of the last century as “the most overpublicized writing duo in some time,” as Mr. Affleck ruefully put it.
This month is the 15th anniversary of “Good Will Hunting,” and Mr. Damon admitted he’d been thinking about the film more than he had in a while. Writing “Promised Land,” Mr. Damon said, “we’d basically just be in a room with a laptop open and kind of hashing out the scenes, pacing around the room. It’s really exactly the way Ben Affleck and I wrote ‘Good Will Hunting.’ ”
And how, a reporter tentatively asked, did Mr. Krasinski compare to Mr. Affleck?
“Strikingly similar,” Mr. Damon said, laughing. “Honestly. The writing experience is the same.” (Mr. Affleck said, by way of wry response, “I think John is very, very talented.”)
This time Mr. Krasinski originated the idea to write a film about “American identity,” as he put it, one that focused on the working people whom he saw as marginalized in the present political climate.
“My dad grew up in a steel mill town just outside of Pittsburgh, and all his stories of growing up seemed so incredibly inspiring,” Mr. Krasinski said. “I wanted to write a movie where these people were in a situation that was representative as a whole of everything that we’re going through as a country.” Mr. Krasinski called the author Dave Eggers, whom he knew from the film “Away We Go,” and the two men worked out a basic concept (Mr. Eggers has a story credit on “Promised Land”) before Mr. Krasinski took the idea to Mr. Damon.
“Promised Land” quickly found a home at Warner Brothers, where Mr. Damon has a production deal. But the financing was contingent on Mr. Damon’s directing.
“I knew that when I bowed out that we were going to lose our” — Mr. Damon used another word for emphasis — “money.” In desperation he e-mailed their script to Mr. Van Sant from an airport runway. By the time he had landed, Mr. Van Sant had signed on, and the project eventually found a new home with Focus Features.
“As a producer I like to say that the smartest thing I did on the movie was firing myself as the director,” Mr. Damon said.
The behind-the-scenes experience on “Promised Land,” both men said, was something that they were eager to repeat.
“It was my wife who said to me after we’d been writing for a couple months, ‘I haven’t seen you this happy working,’ ” Mr. Damon said.
“And it’s true. I’d forgotten how much fun it is to start from scratch.”