Great new interview where Matt talks about We Bought a Zoo, music, crying while watching movies and Tom Cruise, by The Washington Post:
I’m a little worried about “We Bought a Zoo.”
With all the hype about mega-marketed holiday films such as “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” I fear moviegoers may forget all about Cameron Crowe and Matt Damon’s dramedy, or perhaps just dismiss it outright because the title is, admittedly, a little goofy.
They shouldn’t. For starters, Damon delivers one of the most authentic and likable star turns of his career as Benjamin Mee, the widower and father of two who, uh, well, buys a zoo. (In addition to being goofy, the title is also kind of a spoiler.)
I recently chatted with Damon and Crowe about the film for this Sunday Style piece, which, because of space limitations, couldn’t possibly capture the many topics covered during a 40-minute conversation. In addition to discussing New Yorker critic David Denby’s initial dismissal of “We Bought a Zoo,” we also talked about the impact that using music on the set (a signature Crowe move) had on Damon’s performance, as well as the acting abilities of their current multiplex competitor, Tom Cruise.
Here are more extracts from that interview, in which Damon uses big words like “amygdala” and says of Cruise, “He is a much better actor than I think people understand.”
Damon, on Crowe’s use of music during takes: There’s something that happens with music, and I’d never thought of using it this way, but it’s so brilliant because it’s so emotional. It’s like it leapfrogs your neocortex and goes straight to your amygdala and suddenly you’re feeling these things. It’s not rational; it’s going right really to your heart. As a performer, it’s just pulling stuff out of you.
That Jonsi music we have in the movie. . . . The song where I’m looking at the iPhoto stuff and looking at my wife [in the movie] — the song that’s in the movie is the song Cameron played that day, and it’s completely responsible for that whole sequence. It took me places that there is no amount of directing or cajoling or persuading he could have done to get me to that place. He didn’t say anything; he put the song on and we were gone. So that was something I’ve never seen before that’s an unbelievably valuable tool for me going forward, and eventually as a director.
Crowe, on why he changed his mind and decided to play music during certain takes of “We Bought a Zoo”: It happened on the first day when we were doing the scene in the hallway of the school. It was a close-up on Matt, and he kind of turned into the shot. I had two instincts: One is, wow, Matt has really connected to this character and this is the movie happening before me. And the second: I hear Tom Petty, “Don’t Come Around Here No More.”
So I put it on, on instinct, and something started to surge on Matt’s face and in the people around us, and it felt like music has always been for me, kind of an emotional partner. And suddenly we had kind of another character in the room, which was the music. As soon as the take was over, Matt and some other people came over and said, “Wow, I really felt that.” I think in that instant I pivoted and decided to keep doing it. And one of the reasons was because Matt just soaks up music. He’s a music fan, and the music was always a reminder of what movie we were in. And sometimes that’s so much more profound than anything you could say.
Damon, on whether he’ll use music when he makes his directorial debut next year: Definitely, definitely. I’m already thinking about that, when to use it and what songs. Because it really does work.
It was weird to come across a tactic — like, I thought I knew everything. Tactically speaking, without geeking out on theory, a lot of people make good movies, and I know a lot of them and we talk. And so, it was surprising to have this happen on the first day of filming. I was so excited. I had dinner with Ben Affleck that night, actually, and it’s all we talked about, was this Tom Petty thing that had happened. I just couldn’t believe it. I was like, man, you have no idea what this felt like. It was all about a feeling and being lifted by this music, and so yeah, it’s definitely something that I want to do. Because it works.
Damon, on what gets to him in Crowe’s movie “Jerry Maguire”:
There are a few parts, actually. I was watching it with my wife. It’s Tom [Cruise], is what gets to me. Tom’s performance is what gets to me, ultimately. He anchored that movie. He’s such a better actor than I think people understand, and that performance is still great 15 years later. It is worth going back and looking at again. It is one of the great leading-man performances.
When a movie gets to you, there are a bunch of things that start to work on you. The relationship between Cuba [Gooding Jr.]’s character and his wife, that starts to get to me. By the end of it I’m just so teed up for the final scene with Tom and Renee [Zellweger] in front of the women’s group. My wife looks over, and tears are running down [my face] and I’m wiping them away.
But it got to her, too. . . . I’m not ashamed to say that.
Crowe and Damon, on the possibility of Crowe making a movie that brings together Damon, Cruise and “Say Anything . . .” star John Cusack:
Damon: I love that idea.
Crowe: Oh, man. Tom Cruise came to visit the set when we were making “We Bought a Zoo,” and I kind of stood back at a certain point and watched the two of them talking, and I had the same idea. It’s like, damn. . . .
Damon: I had met [Tom Cruise] briefly a couple of times, but we really got to talk and, uh, spend a little time together. And then I talked to him on the phone after he saw some scenes. He dropped by the editing room and saw some stuff and called me. And that was amazing.
After the actor pulled out of directing the untitled film due to “scheduling conflicts,” Van Sant will now take his chair.
Matt Damon might not be directing his untitled drama he co-wrote with John Krasinski and Dave Eggers, but the project is far from dead.
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Gus Van Sant will sit in the director’s chair after Damon fell out due to “scheduling issues.” (The actor said yes to several movies this year, and the time required to prep what would have been his directorial debut would have impacted his other commitments.)
Damon came to the realization he would be unable to direct during the holidays and called Van Sant, who helmed him in his 1997 breakthrough Good Will Hunting, to step in.
Damon will still star in the movie, along with which centers on a salesman (Damon) who arrives in a small town only to have his life changed. Krasinski was also due to star. The two are producing as is Chris Moore.
The next step for the project, which hopes to shoot in the spring, is financing. The project was initially set up at Warner Bros. in October but is no longer there. Discussions are underway with financiers to take it over.
Van Sant, repped by WME, last directed Restless, which starred Mia Wasikowska.
I’ve added more pictures from the We Bought a Zoo premiere and there’s a Today Show Clip at MSNBC Site. Thanks Roberta from Jim Parsons Web for the pictures.
Matt will be on Late Show with David Letterman this wednesday! Don’t miss it!
The clip is after the “Read more” link. It’s autoplay.
Matt Damon attented the We Bought a Zoo New York premiere yesterday, here are some pictures.
Awesome news! The Adjustment Bureau has been nominated for Favorite Drama for the 2012 People’s Choice Awards!
Screen captures from The Adjustment Bureau are up in the gallery
The International trailer for We Bought a Zoo is out! Enjoy!
Director/Writer: Cameron Crowe
Cast: Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Elle Fanning
Release date: December 23, 2011
Looks like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are going to work together again. News from CNN:
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are combining their star power once again.
Studio Warner Bros. Pictures tells CNN that Affleck is set to direct as well as co-star along with Matt Damon in a film about infamous gangster Whitey Bulger. The yet-to-be-titled film will be produced by the Boston filmmakers as well, under their production company Pearl Street Films.
Damon is signed on to portray Bulger, who was just recently apprehended after more than 16 years on the run.
“Sopranos” and “Boardwalk Empire” scribe Terence Winter is taking care of the screenplay, which will chronicle Bulger’s journey from his “misspent youth” to becoming one of the most notorious criminals in history.
The studio didn’t clarify what role Affleck will take on, but Deadline reports his brother Casey will also join the cast in a supporting role.
According to the site, Affleck says that he and co-star Damon “have been looking for something to do together for some time. We’ve heard about Whitey Bulger since we were kids, and we are excited about the prospect of putting it on screen.”
More articles about this:
Damon will make his feature directorial debut in the untitled pic
Matt Damon plans to make his feature directorial debut in an untitled, mid-budget drama that he and John Krasinski co-wrote and will star in together for Warner Bros.
Project will be set up at Krasinski’s Sunday Night Productions banner. Chris Moore will produce.
Pic is not the long-rumored “Father Daughter Time,” which many speculated in June, when Damon said he was considering a directing project with Krasinski in the cast.
Instead, project is something Krasinski came up with and developed with author Dave Eggers (who co-wrote Krasinski-starrer “Away We Go”). Damon would play a salesman who arrives in a small town only to have his whole life called into question. Krasinski’s role was not revealed.
Warner Bros. is yet to greenlight the project, and no individual deals are yet in place, though preliminary plans are to shoot the project on the East Coast in the near future.
Jesse Ehrman is overseeing for Warner Bros.
Sources tell Variety that the budget would be around $12 million and that the two would try to get a script finished within the next month.
While both Damon and Krasinski are known for acting, both have dabbled with off-screen work: Damon’s career skyrocketed after penning and starring in the Miramax pic “Good Will Hunting,” which won him an Academy for original screenplay.
Krasinski only recently started his writing career, having penned and directed the IFC pic “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.”
Damon is currently filming the Sony/MRC co-production “Elysium.” Krasinski can still be seen on the NBC skein “The Office.”
Both thesps are repped by WME.