Matt Damon stars as one of the agents who got in on the ground floor of the CIA in the dramatic movie The Good Shepherd directed by Robert De Niro and co-starring Angelina Jolie. De Niro’s second directorial effort focuses on the early days of the CIA and how involvement in the ultra-secretive organization plays havoc with one man’s life.
How difficult was it to give life to a very unemotional character, to make him human enough that the audience will want to watch this guy for three hours?
“I was nervous about that and I think with another director I would have given into my fear and indicated more and pushed it more, and been a little more over the top. The reality was that he just insisted on absolute emotional honesty and subtlety all the time. I think something that I certainly have fallen victim to in the past is, because I’m also a writer, you look at every scene and you deconstruct the script. You go, ‘Okay, this scene is in the movie for this reason. The audience needs to come away with this.’ Which as a writer, you can do that, but as an actor that’s deadly. You can’t think in those terms or else you’re going to end up just pulling faces and indicating, and ultimately losing the movie because people don’t believe what you’re doing.