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
Matt Damon Interview: Talks THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU, GOODFELLAS, ELYSIUM, WE BUILT A ZOO, and Tells an Awesome GODFATHER 2 Story
A sure way to get a laugh out of “Adjustment Bureau” star Matt Damon these days is to mention that oddly, two directors whose only link in this world is having both worked with Damon more than once have both announced seemingly premature “retirements” from movie making.
The quixotic and generally quite successful Steven Soderbergh seems to mean it. With Kevin Smith, who has had a lot of trouble getting his latest movie made and into theaters, it’s hard to tell. But both have announced a one-or-two-more movies and done career path.
So is working with Damon and the memory of Matt what drove both over the edge, and will Matt be in either filmmaker’s “final” film?
“I hope to be in both of their last movies,” Damon says. “But I hope neither one of them is making his last movie NOW. I hope not. I hope not. We need good directors.
“I’ve talked at length with Steven about it. He is going away for a while, I think. He genuinely wants to paint. And he feels if he really dedicates himself he can be really good. He’s not yet 50. He will put in the hours. He has a work ethic like nobody I’ve ever seen. He feels if he puts a hard decade of work in, he could really be doing something.
“But I see it as a waste of this incredible depth of knowledge of filmmaking. But his thing is ‘form. I’m only interested in what I can do with form. I’ve made almost every movie I want to,’ he says. ‘And if I see another over-the-shoulder shot, I’m going to kill myself.’
“I said to him, right after I did ‘Invictus,’ ‘Steven, I just finished a movie with a guy in his 70s who still charges out of bed every morning because he can’t wait to get to the set. He has a blast and is really loving it and he’s been doing it a lot longer than either of us.’ And without a blink, Steven says ‘But Clint’s a storyteller. A great storyteller. I’m not interested in stories. I’m interested in form.’
“I don’t know what to say to that. It’s his life to do with what he wants. So in the meantime, I’d doing as many movies with him as I can. I’ve definitely got him on the hook for one more. Hopefully, on the set of ‘Liberace’ I can convince him to do another one.
“This ‘Liberace’ script is just wonderful. Michael’s going to be just phenomenal in that part. We’re shooting that in 2012. I just did ‘Contagion’ with Steven last December.
“He has the most varied body of work of anybody I can think of. He’s at this point where we could shoot during the day, and him being the cinematographer and the director, we’d go home, have an hour or two off, and then meet him back at the hotel bar in Chicago. They’d have a back room where he’d sit, have some pretzels and a drink and he’d take a look at the day’s work. Scott Burns, the writer, Greg Jacobs, his first-AD, and me, we’d show up, get a drink and hang out with him. Steven would have his headphones on, sitting at his laptop. And in about 20 minutes he’d cut together the day’s work. ‘OK,’ he’d say, pull his headphones off and turn the computer around and show us, right there, what we’d shot that day and how it would look on the big screen when the movie comes out. THAT FAST. He’s a FREAK.
“When we did ‘Ocean’s Twelve,’ we did a wrap party at a bowling alley. I went up to him and said, ‘Hey Steven, thanks. Great time working with you. Thanks. How do you think the movie’s going to be?’ And he say, ‘You wanna SEE it?’ He’d finished cutting it and had it on a laptop. Right there, he shows me the movie!’ (LAUGHS)
“He’s a phenomenal director, a prodigious talent with a non-stop brilliant mind. He’s been pushing himself since the very beginning. Sometimes failing, but always pushing.”
Damon is “a little miffed, frankly” at the “Oscar snub” his pal and sometime collaborator Ben Affleck seems to have gotten over “The Town.”
“Don’t get me started, but he did such a great job writing and directing that, and acting in it. At least some acknowledgement for the screenplay. And there are ten best picture nominees, It wasn’t one of the ten best? I think so. Anyway, he’s hot as a firecracker right now. I’m glad to see it.”
I’m interviewing The Farrelly Brothers on Friday about “Hall Pass,” their new comedy. Damon and Greg Kinnear played conjoined twins in their comedy, “Stuck on You” some years back. Damon has a vivid recollection of working with those guys, too.
“My favorite direction I’ve ever receieved was from Peter Farrelly. Greg and I were wearing the suit, stuck together. We do a take and it just doesn’t work. I’d flubbed a line, Greg missed one of his cues and there was this long pause after we hear “Cut” over the walkie-talkies. They were sitting way over in Video Village, where the monitors were. Must have been a quarter of a mile away.
“And Greg goes, ‘Well that stunk. Let’s just go right away’ We were hoping they’d keep the cameras rolling and we’d take another shot at the scene.
“But we see Peter walking all the way over to the set. Long walk. Greg says, ‘Oh nooo. He’s coming ALL the way over just to give us a note. Not good.’
“Peter’s chewing gum. And he finally gets over to us, looks at me, looks down at his feet, takes a long pause, ‘Um, yeah, hmmmm.’ Looks back up at me and finally just says — ‘Suck less!’”
“Greg and I go ‘Yeah, THANKS Peter. We got it.’ He turns around and walks all the way back to the monitors.”
Matt Damon had to double check he hadn’t hurt his co-star Hailee Steinfeld every time they filmed a fight scene in True Grit.
In one controversial scene, 14-year-old Hailee’s character Mattie is slapped by Matt’s character LaBeouf.
Hailee said: “I thought it was fun, and also funny. After every take, Matt would ask if I’m OK and that I wasn’t hurt.”
The actress added that working with Matt, Jeff Bridges and directors the Coen brothers was a good laugh.
She said of the directors: “They’re really big kids…They are amazing. You know when they like something – they just giggle.”
And Jeff revealed he and Hailee played Pass The Pigs in between takes.
“Her pig was Bo Bacon, and mine was the Pig Man,” he said.
Jess from NKidman.com sent some awesome HQs from Matt on the premiere of The Adjustment Bureau in New York last monday. Enjoy!
The New York Premiere for The Adjustment Bureau was last night and here are some pictures!
Matt Damon and Emily Blunt learn that their fate may be in the hands of a mysterious organization in ‘The Adjustment Bureau,’ in theaters March 4, and we have a first look behind the scenes at what Emily calls a “brain-melting experience”!
“They’re kind of a timeless group of people who are essentially guardian angels,” says Matt of the title organization. “There’s a master plan written in a language that our brains couldn’t possibly comprehend. … If somebody’s kind of going off-plan a little bit, they give them a little adjustment.”
Based on a Philip K. Dick story, ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ casts Matt as David Norris, an ambitious politician on the brink of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate. When he meets beautiful ballet dancer Elise Sellas, he is instantly smitten — and the course of his future changes, prompting the Adjustment Bureau to intervene, no matter what the cost.
Universal has provided us with seven clips from Matt Damon’s upcoming romance/thriller The Adjustment Bureau. Written and directed by George Nolfi (writer of The Bourne Ultimatum), the film is based on a short story by Philip K. Dick entitled Adjustment Team and centers on the apparently forbidden relationship between politician David Norris (Damon) and Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt). As the story goes, the two are kept apart by a mysterious team of adjusters who claim it’s in everyone’s best interest if they go their separate ways. Hit the jump to watch the clips.
The Adjustment Bureau opens on March 4th. In addition to Damon and Blunt, the film also stars Terence Stamp, John Slattery (Mad Men), and Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker).
Video after the jump:
Had you wanted to work with Joel and Ethan Coen for sometime?
Matt Damon: Yeah, forever. I first met Joel in 1994 when I did a cable TV movie ['The Good Old Boys'] with his wife Fran [Frances McDormand] down in West Texas. So I had met Joel in West Texas 16 years ago and it took them that long to offer me a job! [laughs]. But I was dying to work with them and any actor you talk to would say the same thing. If you ask for a shortlist of directors, they would be right there.
Was it fun building your character, LaBoeuf?
MD: He’s a great character and it was a lot of fun. I worked with Tommy Lee Jones in 1994 when he directed ‘The Good Old Boys’, which Fran and I did with him and that’s when I first met Joel and Ethan. And Joel and Ethan subsequently worked with Tommy to incredible effect in ‘No Country for Old Men’ and Tommy gave a remarkable performance in that. And actually, I had Tommy as a frame of reference [for 'True Grit'] because he’s from West Texas. And he’s also somebody who is really fun to listen to, he knows a lot about a lot, and there’s something of the English teacher in him – you can ask him an obscure question and he enjoys knowing what he knows [laughs]. And so we kind of riffed on that. It’s not exact but it’s a similar way of presentation. My character in ‘True Grit’ is supposed to be a windbag – it’s like he comes over as a man who knows everything but actually doesn’t know very much at all! Not that Tommy’s like that, but Tommy is a great storyteller. And that was where we started to build the guy.