No matter how big a star he’s become (and thanks to the Bourne franchise, he’s become very big indeed) Matt Damon has always seemed refreshingly removed from the silliness of showbiz. Following the birth of his fourth daughter, the Harvard drop-out, activist and aspiring director is even more determined to play the Hollywood game on his own terms.
In a midtown hotel suite, Matt Damon looks intently at the view over Manhattan. He points out the Brooklyn Bridge, where a key scene in his latest film, The Adjustment Bureau, was filmed. In dark jeans, a white T-shirt and brown lace-up boots, with a turned-up nose and pale blue eyes, he looks, well, just like you’d expect Matt Damon to look, though at 178cm, perhaps slightly shorter.
Directed by George Nolfi (a screenwriter on The Bourne Ultimatum) and based on a Philip K Dick short story, The Adjustment Bureau is a sort of Sliding Doors love story, with Damon’s politician running around Manhattan’s streets in pursuit of a ballerina called Elise (Emily Blunt). But the forces of fate, led by Mad Men’s John Slattery, seem to keep them apart. At least, that seems to be the plot from a collection of film clips journalists were shown. The final cut wasn’t yet available.
No matter, Oscar-winner Damon has plenty more movies on his dance card. There’s the Coen brothers’ True Grit, which came out in January, plus Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion and Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo, both slated for release this year.
The Matt Damon-starring movie “Hereafter” was pulled from theaters in Japan earlier this week, and Warner Bros. is using the film’s Tuesday release on DVD and Blu-ray as a way to raise money for relief efforts.
According to the L.A. Times, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is donating an unspecified percentage of DVD and Blu-ray sales to the Japanese Red Cross Society following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the nation last Friday. Those familiar with the matter tell the Times that the donation will be in the ballpark of $1 million.
The Clint Eastwood-directed film focuses on grief and the afterlife, but it does contain a scene depicting a tsunami wreaking havoc on a coastal town. It’s been playing in Japan since February. A Warner Bros. rep explained to CNN, “In deference to the tragic unfolding events in Japan, we have pulled ‘Hereafter’ from the theaters.”
The Warner Bros. rep added that the opening of Anthony Hopkins’ horror thriller “The Rite,” which was originally scheduled to bow this weekend in Japan, has been postponed.
Quick, what’s the oddest thing about Matt Damon’s career? The obvious answer is that he has played a lot of oddballs. The drug-addled Gulf War veteran of Courage Under Fire (a role for which he lost 40 pounds — and he wasn’t exactly chunky beforehand). The troubled megamind of Good Will Hunting. The moody parasite-sociopath of The Talented Mr. Ripley. The amnesiac ex-government fighting-and-killing machine of the Bourne films. The lost-inside-himself CIA cipher of The Good Shepherd. The whistleblower-without-a-twinge-of-idealism in The Informant! The melancholy psychic of Hereafter. No question about it: For an actor who has long resembled a clean, upstanding, gleaming-white-toothed Boy Scout, and who now looks like a slightly older Boy Scout, Matt Damon has spent a long time going out of his way to cast himself against type.
But that’s still not the oddest thing about his career. That would be the fact that, in nearly 15 years as a major movie star (I’m dating his leap to leading man status from the explosive success of Good Will Hunting), Matt Damon has never starred in a romantic comedy. Not once. He has never tried to lighten his image, or rebound after a box-office failure, or simply play the game by agreeing to do some fluffy-sexy chick flick in which he plays a carefree executive bachelor who flirts with, gets taken down a peg by, and falls for Julia/Sandra/Jennifer/Kate/ Renée/Drew/etc.
The desire to steer clear of those kinds of movies has been an almost ideological decision on Damon’s part, and for anyone who follows him, it’s a choice with a ready explanation: Chick flicks are Hollywood at its most cheesy, formulaic, corporate, and even embarrassing — for the most part, they’re happy-face gobs of product masquerading as movies — and Matt Damon is not a cheesy guy, and not a formulaic or corporate actor either. He doesn’t make movies he doesn’t believe in. That’s why he’s virtually the only actor of his generation who was able to become an action star and hold fast to his integrity while doing it. The Bourne films aren’t quite works of art, but they’re super-smart about exciting audiences. They’re thrill rides with a vision.
For millennia, mankind has wondered whether humans have free will and make our own decisions, or if Fate, God or gods are really pulling the strings and controlling our unalterable destinies. In The Adjustment Bureau, Matt Damon plays David Norris, a New York congressman who is told by shadowy, fedora-wearing supernatural agents of predestination that his promising future cannot include Elise, a dancer played by Emily Blunt, who Norris meets and falls for in a chance encounter on the eve of a big election. See the trailer below.
Perhaps the strongest parts of The Adjustment Bureau are the early scenes between Norris and Elise as their paths cross over several years. The chemistry between Damon and Blunt is undeniable, making it easy to understand why Norris remains so smitten with her despite the Bureau’s threats. And Damon, a close follower of politics who has donated generously to democrats, displays a facility with campaign mannerisms that makes you wonder if he’ll eventually run for office.
Critic Rating: 4.5/5
When ‘Blade Runner’ meets Alfred Hitchcock
By Ann Hornaday
Friday, March 4, 2011
God is in the details. So are the best movies.
“The Adjustment Bureau,” an enormously entertaining speculative thriller starring Matt Damon, would earn its kudos for ambition alone. An adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story, this is a movie of myriad genres and tonal gradations, including classic science fiction in the tradition of “Blade Runner” and “The Matrix” and the doomed romance of “An Affair to Remember.” Throw in the conspiratorial intrigue of “The Manchurian Candidate” – and a first-time director to keep it all straight – and the singular achievement of “The Adjustment Bureau” becomes all the more impressive.
Working from his own script, director George Nolfi has executed the cinematic equivalent of a twisting, tumbling high dive with precision and finesse. He proves himself just as adept with dazzling feats of visual imagination as with human emotion, which, while less spectacular, entails a higher degree of difficulty.
(CNN) — Are angels prone to human error? So it seems, though the man upstairs also bears some responsibility for overwriting his own grand plans in “The Adjustment Bureau,” a sci-fi romance that plays like an extended episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
That’s intended as a compliment. Rod Serling’s classic show was often glib and sometimes sentimental, but it also played on ideas: philosophy, paradox, even politics. This was cerebral sci-fi for mass consumption, before special effects and spectacle took over. Not that these things are incompatible — just don’t expect many visual pyrotechnics here.
George Nolfi’s film (he’s writer-director-producer) musters a chase scene or two, but they’re on foot, and it’s almost comically lo-fi — as retro as the unfortunate trilby hat Matt Damon sports in the climax. He is David Norris, a young up-and-coming New York politician whose Senate hopes take a dive when certain frat-boy antics from his recent past come out in the press.
Watch the full interview with Matt Damon and the cast of “The Adjustment Bureau” tonight. “Piers Morgan Tonight” airs weeknights on CNN/US at 9 p.m. ET and on CNN International at 1200 GMT/1300 CET/2000 HKT.
(CNN) — When CNN’s Piers Morgan asked actor Matt Damon if he was happy with the way President Barack Obama has been running the country and if Damon was “a fan” of the president, Damon answered “no.”
Damon and the cast of “The Adjustment Bureau” — Emily Blunt, John Slattery and Anthony Mackie — are Thursday evening’s guests on “Piers Morgan Tonight.” During the course of their conversation, Damon and Morgan covered Hollywood, politics, fatherhood and much more.
“He (Obama) misinterpreted his mandate,” said Damon. “He’s doubled down on a lot of things.”
“In his State of the Union he didn’t even say the word ‘poverty,’ ” said Damon. “You’ve got millions of people languishing in it.” Damon, who backed the Obama campaign in 2008, said he appreciates that the president is a “deep thinker.” The actor called Obama brilliant, but said he “definitely wanted more.”
When questioned about what he’d do about Afghanistan, Damon said, “I don’t think the mission there has been very well articulated. And I think it would help to kind of reframe the way we’re thinking about being there and why we’re there.”
Damon also said there has not been a meaningful reform of Wall Street. He said he believes that is “dangerous” and “shameful” and that the financial crisis is “just going to happen again,” because “they don’t make anything. They don’t build anything.”
I’ve been a fan of Matt Damon’s since Good Will Hunting. In the thirteen years since that film got released, Damon has starred in countless films and even though he is known the world over, every time that I’ve been fortunate enough to talk to him, he’s always been beyond cool and willing to answer any question. So when I sat down to talk about his new film The Adjustment Bureau for our partners at Omelete, I figured I was in for a good conversation. However, no matter what I was thinking when I walked in, I left the room even more impressed with Damon. That’s because when I first walked in he told me how much he loved my Goodfellas t-shirt and then we spent a few minutes talking about Martin Scorsese and Goodfellas. He was going to tell me a Godfather Part 2 story when I actually forced him to switch gears. However, after telling me some great stories about making The Adjustment Bureau, Damon gave me updates on Cameron Crowe’s We Built a Zoo and Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium.
But I’ve left out the best part.
At the end of the interview, I told him I’d love to hear his Godfather Part 2 story and then he smiled and proceeded to tell me an awesome story about the making of The Godfather Part 2 which he must have heard from either Scorsese or Francis Ford Coppola. I’m a huge fan of the Godfather films and had never heard what he told me. If you’re a fan of Damon’s, or just want to hear an awesome actor geek out like the film nerd that he is, you definitely want to hit the jump:
Finally, for more on writer-director George Nolfi’s romance/thriller The Adjustment Bureau, click here to watch 7 clips. The film also stars Emily Blunt, Terence Stamp, John Slattery and Anthony Mackie.
* We talk about my t-shirt
* What are some of his favorite films. He talks about Goodfellas
* We then talk about The Godfather Part 2
* How did he get involved with The Adjustment Bureau
* We talk about how the film balances a love story and sci-fi
* How is working with Cameron Crowe on We Built a Zoo
* What’s up with Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium. Says he shoots this summer
* Ends the interview with an AWESOME Godfather Part 2 story
How sweet is that? 😀
Matt Damon is convinced he was destined to meet and marry his wife Luciana – because there were so many things that should have prevented the chance encounter in a Miami, Florida bar.
The movie star turned down an action movie to star in madcap Farrelly Brothers comedy Stuck on You on his mother’s advice – and then the shoot location was changed from Hawaii to Florida.
But that was only the start of the weird combination of incidents that brought Damon and his future wife together.
The actor tells U.S. TV host Ellen DeGeneres, “I had never really hung out in Miami and one night in the middle of the shoot, the crew, a couple guys, said, ‘We’re going to get a beer somewhere.’ I said, ‘I’m not really into it.’ They said, ‘Come on,’ and kind of dragged me along.
“We ended up at a bar where my wife was the bartender. I literally saw her across a crowded room… and eight years and four kids later, that’s my life.
“I don’t know how else our paths would have crossed if that didn’t happen… The moral is that when you’re tired, suck it up and go to the bar because you might meet your wife.”
Matt will be on Ellen DeGeneres show today, March 2nd! Check your local listings and EllenTV.com for more information!