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.
The Adjustment Bureau is out in theathers today! If you’re not on US, you can check here for more release dates. I’ve posted a series of reviews in the previous posts. Enjoy!
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
Starring: Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Anthony Mackie, Terence Stamp, John Slattery, Daniel Dae Kim, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Michael Kelly, Liam Ferguson, Anthony Ruivivar
Director: George Nolfi
Plot: Do we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate us? Matt Damon stars in the thriller The Adjustment Bureau as a man who glimpses the future Fate has planned for him and realizes he wants something else. To get it, he must pursue the only woman he’s ever loved across, under and through the streets of modern-day New York. On the brink of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, ambitious politician David Norris (Damon) meets beautiful contemporary ballet dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt)-a woman like none he’s ever known. But just as he realizes he’s falling for her, mysterious men conspire to keep the two apart. David learns he is up against the agents of Fate itself-the men of The Adjustment Bureau-who will do everything in their considerable power to prevent David and Elise from being together. In the face of overwhelming odds, he must either let her go and accept a predetermined path…
With the movie being released today there’s a lot of reviews now. I’ve posted some below, and here are some links! Have fun!
For millennia, mankind has wondered whether humans have free will and make our own decisions, or if Fate, God or gods are really pulling the strings and controlling our unalterable destinies. In The Adjustment Bureau, Matt Damon plays David Norris, a New York congressman who is told by shadowy, fedora-wearing supernatural agents of predestination that his promising future cannot include Elise, a dancer played by Emily Blunt, who Norris meets and falls for in a chance encounter on the eve of a big election. See the trailer below.
Perhaps the strongest parts of The Adjustment Bureau are the early scenes between Norris and Elise as their paths cross over several years. The chemistry between Damon and Blunt is undeniable, making it easy to understand why Norris remains so smitten with her despite the Bureau’s threats. And Damon, a close follower of politics who has donated generously to democrats, displays a facility with campaign mannerisms that makes you wonder if he’ll eventually run for office.