Critic Rating: 4.5/5
When ‘Blade Runner’ meets Alfred Hitchcock
By Ann Hornaday
Friday, March 4, 2011
God is in the details. So are the best movies.
“The Adjustment Bureau,” an enormously entertaining speculative thriller starring Matt Damon, would earn its kudos for ambition alone. An adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story, this is a movie of myriad genres and tonal gradations, including classic science fiction in the tradition of “Blade Runner” and “The Matrix” and the doomed romance of “An Affair to Remember.” Throw in the conspiratorial intrigue of “The Manchurian Candidate” – and a first-time director to keep it all straight – and the singular achievement of “The Adjustment Bureau” becomes all the more impressive.
Working from his own script, director George Nolfi has executed the cinematic equivalent of a twisting, tumbling high dive with precision and finesse. He proves himself just as adept with dazzling feats of visual imagination as with human emotion, which, while less spectacular, entails a higher degree of difficulty.
(CNN) — Are angels prone to human error? So it seems, though the man upstairs also bears some responsibility for overwriting his own grand plans in “The Adjustment Bureau,” a sci-fi romance that plays like an extended episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
That’s intended as a compliment. Rod Serling’s classic show was often glib and sometimes sentimental, but it also played on ideas: philosophy, paradox, even politics. This was cerebral sci-fi for mass consumption, before special effects and spectacle took over. Not that these things are incompatible — just don’t expect many visual pyrotechnics here.
George Nolfi’s film (he’s writer-director-producer) musters a chase scene or two, but they’re on foot, and it’s almost comically lo-fi — as retro as the unfortunate trilby hat Matt Damon sports in the climax. He is David Norris, a young up-and-coming New York politician whose Senate hopes take a dive when certain frat-boy antics from his recent past come out in the press.
Watch the full interview with Matt Damon and the cast of “The Adjustment Bureau” tonight. “Piers Morgan Tonight” airs weeknights on CNN/US at 9 p.m. ET and on CNN International at 1200 GMT/1300 CET/2000 HKT.
(CNN) — When CNN’s Piers Morgan asked actor Matt Damon if he was happy with the way President Barack Obama has been running the country and if Damon was “a fan” of the president, Damon answered “no.”
Damon and the cast of “The Adjustment Bureau” — Emily Blunt, John Slattery and Anthony Mackie — are Thursday evening’s guests on “Piers Morgan Tonight.” During the course of their conversation, Damon and Morgan covered Hollywood, politics, fatherhood and much more.
“He (Obama) misinterpreted his mandate,” said Damon. “He’s doubled down on a lot of things.”
“In his State of the Union he didn’t even say the word ‘poverty,’ ” said Damon. “You’ve got millions of people languishing in it.” Damon, who backed the Obama campaign in 2008, said he appreciates that the president is a “deep thinker.” The actor called Obama brilliant, but said he “definitely wanted more.”
When questioned about what he’d do about Afghanistan, Damon said, “I don’t think the mission there has been very well articulated. And I think it would help to kind of reframe the way we’re thinking about being there and why we’re there.”
Damon also said there has not been a meaningful reform of Wall Street. He said he believes that is “dangerous” and “shameful” and that the financial crisis is “just going to happen again,” because “they don’t make anything. They don’t build anything.”
Matt Damon Interview: Talks THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU, GOODFELLAS, ELYSIUM, WE BUILT A ZOO, and Tells an Awesome GODFATHER 2 Story
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
How sweet is that?
Matt Damon is convinced he was destined to meet and marry his wife Luciana – because there were so many things that should have prevented the chance encounter in a Miami, Florida bar.
The movie star turned down an action movie to star in madcap Farrelly Brothers comedy Stuck on You on his mother’s advice – and then the shoot location was changed from Hawaii to Florida.
But that was only the start of the weird combination of incidents that brought Damon and his future wife together.
The actor tells U.S. TV host Ellen DeGeneres, “I had never really hung out in Miami and one night in the middle of the shoot, the crew, a couple guys, said, ‘We’re going to get a beer somewhere.’ I said, ‘I’m not really into it.’ They said, ‘Come on,’ and kind of dragged me along.
“We ended up at a bar where my wife was the bartender. I literally saw her across a crowded room… and eight years and four kids later, that’s my life.
“I don’t know how else our paths would have crossed if that didn’t happen… The moral is that when you’re tired, suck it up and go to the bar because you might meet your wife.”
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.
Matt Damon and Emily Blunt are both taking over the covers of Men’s Health and Women’s Health together. The Adjustment Bureau co-stars not only talk about health with the magazines, but also talk chemistry!
Matt and Emily must have become very close on the set of their new film! They both joined each other on the cover of Men and Women’s Health March 2011 issues!
“I met Matt and he was lovely and very funny, and instantly, I thought, ‘Oh, we could be like teenage boys together,” she explains. “Just be weird and stupid and silly.’”
And what did Matt think about working with Emily?
“There are a lot of great actresses her age right now,” he says, “But Emily is just…unbelievable.”
And their chemistry sold director George Nolfi to casting Emily!
“It’s an ineffable thing, he said. “She had incredible chemistry with Matt,” he says.