But even though he’s kicked, punched and shot villains in the past, Matt says his hardest task to date has been belting a teenage girl.
In a key scene in his new movie True Grit, Matt plays a boastful Texas Ranger who takes his 14-year-old co-star Hailee Steinfeld over his knee and wallops her with a stick.
A dad of four daughters, Matt has never raised a hand to a girl in real life so he and the film directors Joel and Ethan Coen took precautions to make sure Hailee was protected.
The star said: “They put a big pad on Hailee’s behind. And we practised. I said, ‘Hailee, does that hurt?’ And she said, ‘I can’t even feel it.'”
Matt is adamant it is a form of discipline he would never practise, saying: “I definitely don’t spank them.”
Newcomer Hailee was picked from a pool of 15,000 for the role. and Matt calls her performance “astonishing.”
It earned her a nod in the best actress category at the Baftas yesterday.
“This character is nothing like Hailee Steinfeld actually is in real life,” he said.
Matt loved being directed by Hollywood greats the Coen brothers in their remake of the John Wayne classic – and reckons he’s the one red-blooded male who hasn’t seen The Duke saddle up with Glen Campbell in the original movie.
Matt said: “When I found out about this one, I asked the Coen brothers if I should go see the original. And they said, ‘Actually, the book is where you should go because we’re not looking at it as a remake of that film, as much as a strict adaptation of this great book’.”
True Grit stars Hailee as a 14-year-old girl who hires a boozy US Marshal named Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to hunt down the dim outlaw (Josh Brolin) who murdered her father.
Tagging along on the manhunt is Matt’s lawman, who may be more windbag than wild west hero.
“I am,” said Matt proudly, “a true nincompoop in this movie.”
That’s not to say he doesn’t earn his spurs eventually.
His butch role is a million miles away from his life at home in New York with the five women in his life.
Baby Stella is the latest addition to his family.
There is Isabella, four, and Gia, two, and stepdaughter, Alexia, 12, his wife Luciana’s daughter from a previous marriage. He joked: “I might have to get a male dog.
Actor Matt Damon is planning to reunite with best friend Ben Affleck on some project this year.
Damon has been trying to reunite with his “Good Will Hunting” writing partner for the past 10 years, but nothing worked out because of family commitments.
“We’ve been talking about it for years, so hopefully we’ll get to do it. But we also want to make our own film. We’ve been trying to work together again for 10 years now, but life has taken us in different directions,” femalefirst quoted him as saying.
“Having small kids is big. Most of your energy goes there. Having small kids and living in different cities just means that you don’t see each other a lot,” he added.
Damon added that he admires the way Affleck handles criticism.
“When his film ‘The Town’ came out and just did so well I was so proud and happy. He dealt with a lot of s**t for a lot of years that was unjustified and was the butt of a lot of jokes. So to watch all those people who have to eat their words, he was a bigger man about it than I was. I’m petty enough to really care about that stuff and laugh at the demise of all these idiots that just don’t know talent when they see it,” he said.
“There aren’t many people who the industry views as just being able to pull an idea out of the air: write it, direct it and star in it. So now I’m just looking for a job from him,” he added.
Sony Pictures has won the bidding war to distribute Neill Blomkamp’s thriller Elysium, with Universal Pictures in talks to co-finance the project.
Neill Blomkamp started setting up meetings with other studios today, but those meetings were canceled after the Sony/Universal scenario came together. We reported last week that Jodie Foster joined the movie alongside Matt Damon and Sharlto Copley.
Little is known about the storyline of Elysium, although it is believed to be set 100 years in the future on another planet. Elysium is slated for release in late 2012, with pre-production set to start in April, and filming slated to begin in July. Filming will take place in Vancouver and Mexico City.
Media Rights Capital, which is producing Elysium, has also signed a deal for another Neill Blomkamp project entitled Chappie. That movie will start production immediately after Elysium finishes. No plot details were revealed for Chappie.
Elysium comes to theaters in 2012 and stars Sharlto Copley, Matt Damon, Jodie Foster. The film is directed by Neill Blomkamp.
Rooster Cogburn can’t do nothing for you, son — nothing but entertain, that is, as the one-eyed, hard-drinking lawman currently enjoys his stint as the most-watched hero in theaters across the country.
After three weeks at the box office, Joel and Ethan Coen’s “True Grit” has emerged with a shiny gold medal for its very first weekend victory. The Western, starring Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon, roped in a winning reward worth $15 million over the weekend, a modest result but enough to secure first place. “True Grit” currently stands atop a domestic gold mine worth $110.4 million, easily the Coen brothers’ single-best performer of all time with virtually no signs of slowing down in sight.
As Cogburn’s quest to bag-and-tag the cowardly Tom Chaney and Lucky Ned Pepper’s gang continued to electrify moviegoers everywhere this past weekend, Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro’s “Little Fockers” lost its grasp on audiences. The comedy threequel fell to second place, earning $13.8 million and bringing its current tally up to $124 million.
The first new wide release of 2011 landed with a dud, as “Season of the Witch” tracked down a measly $10.7 million bounty from Friday through Sunday. Starring Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman as a pair of Crusades-era warriors escorting a suspected witch to a faraway monastery, “Season of the Witch” failed to make an impression with the moviegoing masses, barely putting a dent into its $40 million production budget.
The fourth place “Tron: Legacy” continued on its path towards clearing its production budget, while “Black Swan” managed yet another impressive showing by earning an $8.4 million fifth-place finish. “Country Strong,” which expanded into wide release over the weekend, performed decently with $7.3 million to its name.
The actor inists the rights are available, and he’d happily make the movie with director Paul Greengrass at the helm.
Despite saying he wasn’t against Universal’s plans to continue the series without him and Greengrass, Damon has made it clear he resents the way he found out, hearing about it through the press, like everybody else.
Damon told Empire, “No one told me, literally nobody called me. People think I have inside information, but you can get a sense of where I am in the pecking order.
“I’d do it again with Paul. Universal doesn’t actually own the Bourne character – the estate does – so technically I could go to Warner Bros… and Universal could read about it online.”
Matt Damon played the amnesiac assassin in three movies between 2002 and 2007, while Paul Greengrass helmed the second two movies, Supremacy and Ultimatum, to much critical acclaim.
Last summer Universal announced plans for a fourth movie, which would feature characters from the previous movies, but wouldn’t include Jason Bourne himself, nor would it be directed by Greengrass. Universal did, however, leave the door open for Damon’s return.
The duo, who teamed up to give us the Bourne Trilogy would, according to Matt Damon, be well within their rights to make their own movie based on the famous spy novels as Universal don’t own the exclusive rights to Jason Bourne’s adventures. Judging from his interview with Empire, it seems that Matt Damon is pretty annoyed that no one has informed him on an official level about Universal’s intentions to make a new Bourne movie without him and Paul Greengrass…
“No one told me, literally nobody called me. People think I have inside information, but you can get a sense of where I am in the pecking order. I’d do it again with Paul [Greengrass]. Universal doesn’t actually own the Bourne character – the estate does – so technically I could go to Warner Bros… and Universal could read about it online.”
The star features in all three of the current films, as action star Jason Bourne. But late last year rumours circle that Matt would not be reprising his role.
Now the star has confirmed that bosses are planning on taking the Bourne films forward without him, revealing he only found out they were planning to make a fourth movie after he found out over the internet.
‘I read online they are doing another Jason Bourne movie with Tony Gilroy directing that I’m not in,’ the Sun reports the angry star as saying.
Now it’s thought Matt might even make his own version of the new Bourne movie, along with director of the previous three films, Paul Greengrass.
‘I’d do it again with Paul. Universal doesn’t actually own the Bourne character – the estate does – so technically I could go to Warner Bros… and Universal could read about it online,’ he said.
Will the Bourne films be the same without Matt Damon? Or would you like to see the star make more of the hit movies? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.
The CDC is starring in a new film with Matt Damon, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow and Laurence Fishburne.
The movie, “Contagion,” is filming some scenes today over at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you work or live over that way, expect more traffic than usual, given all the crew and gear.
The movie has been allowed onto the campus of the CDC, to film some exterior shots, but isn’t shooting inside the building.
The production did a good bit of filming in Chicago before heading to Atlanta, and it’ll be here for a while. We hear that in addition to the CDC/Emory area the film will be shooting some in Decatur as well as downtown Atlanta. Based on what we’re hearing, it sounds like the downtown W hotel might be a good spot to keep your eyes peeled for a star encounter.
The movie is billed as a bio-med drama, where a team of doctors must race to find a cure for a deadly epidemic. It’s the second project here recently to feature the CDC in its plot line. The final episodes of the first season of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” set scenes in the CDC, but did not actually film there. Instead, the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre played the role of the CDC.
Unlike “The Walking Dead,” the movie “Contagion” doesn’t feature zombies – and doesn’t plan to have the CDC explode.
There used to be a rumor that William Goldman was the true screenwriter behind Good Will Hunting, rather than Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, who won an Oscar for that script. As Goldman himself put it in his denial of the rumor, “People don’t want to think those two cute guys wrote it.“ But it turns out Affleck and Damon actually had help from another film legend: Terrence Malick. Malick happens to be best friends with Affleck’s godfather, so Damon and Affleck visited the director in Boston while they were writing the film. Damon recalls:
“We had it in the script that my character and Minnie’s left together at the end of the movie. Terry didn’t read the script but we explained the whole story to him, and in the middle of the dinner, he said, ‘I think it would be better if she left and he went after her.’ And Ben and I looked at each other. It was one of those things where you go: of course that ‘s better. He said it and he probably doesn’t even remember that he said it.”
According to Damon, Malick cited his inspiration for the new ending from Italian cinema:
“[Malick] started talking about Antonioni. ‘In Italian movies a guy just leaves town at the end and that enough.’ And we said of course that’s enough. That’s where we come from. If you just leave that’s a big enough deal. It doesn’t have to build up to anything more.”
I’ve always liked the ending to Good Will Hunting, so it’s funny to hear that it was at one point much, much worse. In fact, the script benefited from the punch-up work of another legendary film director: Rob Reiner. Damon told Tom Shone [via Vulture]:
“The original script that we sold had this high concept thing where the government was trying to get Will. Rob Riener sat with us for script meeting and said ‘Why don’t you guys take all that stuff out?’ Wait a minute. We can do that? ‘Yeah its enough just to make the movie about these guys. That’s a really good movie. That’s what we really love about it. And we said ‘We thought there was this whole high concept thing.’ ‘No you don’t need any of that.’ “
Ironically enough, the most useless advice came from Gus Van Sant, the director of Good Will Hunting:
“At one point after Gus [Van Sant] became involved I was shooting The Rainmaker in Memphis and everyone came down for script meeting. Gus came down and said ‘I want to do a draft where Chucky, Ben’s character, dies on the construction site.’ And Ben and I were just mortified. ‘What are you talking about’ ‘I want him to get crushed like a bug.’ We said ‘Gus what are you talking about? You cant just fucking smush Ben. That’s a terrible idea.’ Gus said ‘No, I really want to see what would happen.’ So we did a whole new draft on weekends of The Rainmaker, when I wasn’t working, we would write, Ben and I did a whole draft, with a wake and everything. It was took a left turn and went into this other place. The scenes in a vacuum I thought were good, but we still didn’t like the idea, then Gus read it said ‘Okay, its a terrible idea let’s go back to what we had.’”
Fascinating. Good Will Hunting is already a very flawed movie (video at their site). I’d love to see this bizarro version where Damon is a spy, Affleck dies, and everything ends happily ever after.