TIME has released its 2011 list of the 100 Most Influential People – and we’re happy to see some familiar Hollywood activists making the cut.
For their efforts to help fund clean water projects throughout the developing world, Matt Damon and Gary White – co-founders of Water.org – were honored in a piece written by Ted Danson. “Their message is one of hope; their solutions for providing access to clean water are simple and cost effective,” praises the actor. “And their work gives us an opportunity to change lives forever.”
We’ve given a lot of credit to Damon in the past for his efforts to help raise awareness on the water crisis – so it’s great to see him being recognized here. “Matt and I, along with our staff, partners, donors, and long-time supporters believe we can achieve universal access to safe water in our lifetime,” said White. “We know there will never be enough charity to fully realize our vision so it requires us to continually look to new ideas and ways to reach more people more quickly – something we have been doing since our founding.”
Best Actor winner Colin Firth was also singled out for his work both on and off the camera. “The two sides of Colin, 50, inform each other,” writes Helen Mirren. “He can be the glamorous celebrity, but look closely at photos of him on the red carpet: there is a kindness in his eyes, an introspection and consideration. He actively pursues a deeper understanding of the world around him, and his humanitarianism gives a depth and wisdom to his performances.”
Besides his work with Oxfam, Firth has also lobbied for the Make Trade Fair campaign, Amnesty International, and Survival International, and has won various awards for his efforts, such as the European Voice Campaigner of the Year award, The Hollywood Reporter’s inaugural Philanthropist of the Year award, as well as the BAFTA Britannia Humanitarian Award.
Matt Damon and Gary White
Being a celebrity is like being a 5-year-old in a room with all the adults staring at you. It’s easy to spin out of control. But if you redirect the energy coming at you to a cause you care about, it can be very powerful.
In Matt Damon’s case, what he wants you to know is that every 15 minutes a child under the age of 5 dies because of a lack of clean water and sanitation and it doesn’t have to be that way. Matt, 40, teamed up with Gary White, 48, a longtime expert in water-supply systems, in 2009 and created Water.org. Their message is one of hope; their solutions for providing access to clean water are simple and cost effective. And their work gives us an opportunity to change lives forever.
Actor Matt Damon has revealed he is looking forward to lock lips with Michael Douglas for their new movie.
Damon will play Douglas’ lover in a movie about gay piano legend Liberace.
“It’s scripted that there’s more than one. I never thought I would get to kiss Michael Douglas,” contactmusic quoted Damon as saying.
Douglas, who revealed in January that he is in remission for stage four throat cancer, is equally enthusiastic about the project.
“I’m just going to get really comfortable so it’s not a caricature. Matt Damon’s going to be my younger lover. God bless Matt. I saw Matt and I was teasing him. I was saying, ‘Bring a lot of ChapStick, babe,” said Douglas.
The film will be helmed by Steven Soderbergh.
Matt Damon comes into close contact with a real-life grizzly bear on the set of his upcoming film “We Bought A Zoo” March 22, 2011. The large furry bear is seen walking back and forth on a closed off street with Damon and his co-stars inside a Ford vehicle. The bear’s trainer is seen making a hand signal to get the bear’s attention towards Damon’s car window – and at one point mounts himself on Matt’s car, blocking Damon inside the car. (Juan Sharma/PacificCoastNews)
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.
Writer/director George Nolfi leads MTV News through the film’s trickier scenes.
So far, 2011 has been woefully lacking in the damn-that’s-cool sci-fi department. “I Am Number 4,” alas, just didn’t cut it.
But this weekend brings us a sci-fi respite, before summer movie season begins, in the form of “The Adjustment Bureau.” Based on a Philip K. Dick story, the flick’s conceit is that there’s a vast, supernatural force — the titular adjusters — that controls and guides the fate of humanity. For star Matt Damon, that means his quest to achieve political superstardom and bed Emily Blunt is propelled, and sometimes compromised, not just by free will, but by the adjusters dictating his fate.
The adjusters, played by the likes of John Slattery and Anthony Mackie, have abilities that range from “freezing” people to make behavioral changes to turning normal doors into geography-leaping portals. For all this high-concept trickery, though, the entire movie maintains a realistic feel — partly because of the filmmakers’ aesthetic and partly because they weren’t working on an “Inception”-like budget.
Writer/director George Nolfi (making his directorial debut after penning scripts like “The Bourne Ultimatum”) gave MTV News a call to take us behind the scenes of the film’s coolest elements.
Why Are the Adjusters Dressed Like “Mad Men” Extras?
Perhaps it’s just because Slattery, a star of “Mad Men,” rocks a slick-looking suit throughout, but many people have been wondering: Why do the adjusters looked like they just stepped out of the hit AMC show?
“I wanted the bureau to have a throwback quality to suggest they’ve been here forever,” Nolfi explained. “They have to blend into our world and yet the audience has to be able to pick them out of a crowd. They’re wearing suits that you’d just think, ‘They’re very well-dressed, that’s a guy who reads GQ.’ The suits and hats are all from different eras — ’30s, ’40s, ’50s, ’60s.”
But not all adjusters wear suits — just the ones, for instance, who follow a suit-wearing politician like Damon. Each adjuster dons gear that allows them to blend in with the person they’re following. “I cut out some scenes where other people from the bureau are much more informally dressed,” the director said. “They’re in black jeans and leather vests and baseball caps. They’d be following someone like me around, when someone in a suit and a fedora would be very obvious.”
Though it’s a Western about an ugly lizard, Rango was quite a draw over the weekend, and The Adjustment Bureau was no slouch either. While overall weekend business was off 32 percent from last year’s Alice in Wonderland madness, it was up from the comparable weekends in 2009 and 2008. (…)
The Adjustment Bureau debuted in second with $21.2 million on nearly 3,200 screens at 2,840 locations. Its start was close to Unknown’s last month, and it was a big improvement over Matt Damon’s last vehicle Hereafter ($12 million). In fact, Bureau posted the highest-grossing opening yet for a top-billed Damon movie outside of the Bourne series. In its marketing, the movie was concisely pitched as an exciting romantic thriller with a fantastical angle. According to distributor Universal Pictures, the audience was 73 percent aged 30 years and older and 53 percent female.