Interesting article from Mental Floss:
On its release in 1997, the film Good Will Hunting proved to be a sizeable hit. It also garnered several Oscar nominations, with the late Robin Williams picking up a Best Supporting Actor gong.
Also taking home Oscar gold for the movie were then-debutant screenwriters Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Their script earned them an Academy Award apiece, but whilst they’d had a lot of interest in their work, it was proving tricky to get someone to properly commit.
Not that there was a lack of interest. Damon and Affleck had several studios involved, and several were making offers to the pair. Yet they opted to go with Miramax, then run – with his brother – by producer Harvey Weinstein.
So why did they choose him over a big studio? Weinstein appeared on The Graham Norton Show in the UK last week, and explained all.
“Everyone in Hollywood wanted Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and the film”, he recalled to Norton. “In the meeting with them, I said ‘I only have one really big note on the script. About page 60, the two leads, both straight men, have a sex scene. What the hell is that?'”
And that was a good question.
For there was method to Affleck and Damon’s madness. “That’s the scene”, they explained to Weinstein, “we wrote to see if guys like you read the script, because every studio executive we went to hadn’t read it. You’re the only guy who brought it up, so you get the movie”.
Good Will Hunting would go on to gross over $200m worldwide, reportedly costing just $10m to make.
Downsizing gets Reese Witherspoon as co-star. Via Variety
Reese Witherspoon has joined Matt Damon in the social satire “Downsizing,” to be directed by Alexander Payne.
Payne wrote the script with Jim Taylor, his partner in Fox-based Ad Hominem Enterprises. Damon joined the project in November.
The story centers on a man in the near future who realizes that he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself at a time when humans are able to do so to battle over-consumption and the depletion of the Earth’s natural resources.
Payne and Taylor won an Oscar for adapted screenplay for “Sideways.” Payne most recently directed “Nebraska.” Payne and Taylor also wrote the Oscar-nominated script for 1999’s “Election,” which starred Witherspoon.
Witherspoon has been nominated for a SAG award and a Golden Globe for “Wild,” which she also produced. She is repped by CAA and Rick Yorn at LBI.
Looks like Matt had to drop out of Manchester-by-the-sea due to schedulling conflicts. Via Collider:
Matt Damon’s busy schedule has forced him to drop out of reteaming with Margaret writer/director Kenneth Lonergan on the drama Manchester-by-the-Sea, but a friendly face will be filling in. Casey Affleck revealed to the Boston Globe (via The Playlist) that he’ll be replacing Damon as the lead in Lonergan’s new film, which revolves around a Boston plumber who is forced to look after his 16-year-old nephew after his brother passes away, but is hindered by a secret tragedy in his past. The You Can Count on Me writer/director Lonergan is an incredibly talented filmmaker, so his next effort is anticipated by many (myself included). No word on when production might begin.
Damon is currently leading Ridley Scott’s sci-fi drama The Martian and is poised to reteam with Paul Greengrass on another Bourne film for release in 2016, so fitting Manchester-by-the-Sea into his schedule ultimately proved impossible.
Universal has also announced that the “Untitled Next Bourne Chapter” will be released on July 29, 2016. Via Collider:
No offense to Aaron Cross and his chems, but if we have to have another Bourne movie, I’m glad it’s with Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass. After years of Damon refusing to do a sequel without Greengrass to the point where Universal threw up their hands and decided to reboot the franchise, the duo is returning. Furthermore, they’re going to be writing the script along with Christopher Rouse, who doesn’t have a writing credit but has edited all of Greengrass’ movies since The Bourne Ultimatum, which is perfect since Greengrass is known for finding the movie in the editing room anyway.
It’s worth noting that this will be the first Bourne movie without the involvement of Tony Gilroy, who is credited with the screenplay for all four Bourne movies, and he also directed The Bourne Legacy. However, in 2011, Damon slammed Gilroy’s Bourne Ultimatum script, telling GQ:
“It’s really the studio’s fault for putting themselves in that position,” Damon tells GQ. “I don’t blame Tony for taking a boatload of money and handing in what he handed in. It’s just that it was unreadable. This is a career-ender. I mean, I could put this thing up on eBay and it would be game over for that dude. It’s terrible. It’s really embarrassing. He was having a go, basically, and he took his money and left.”
Damon quickly apologized, although he didn’t retract his statement regarding the quality of the script. But again, script isn’t so much an afterthought in a Greengrass movie as much as it’s a broad outline, and I’m a little surprised it’s taken this long to officially credit his editor as a co-writer.
As for where this “next Bourne chapter” will take the character, I’m curious but also cautious. The Bourne Ultimatum is such a terrific conclusion to the character’s arc, and it was also a very sharp piece of political commentary regarding the War on Terror. If Greengrass still wants to make a political statement, there’s no shortage of material—spying on Americans; secret torture programs; drone strikes—and it will be interesting to see where a Bourne story fits in at the end of the Obama Administration as opposed to Ultimatum, which came near the end of the Bush Administration.
Pictures from the HBO’s Project Greenlight Winners Announcement from the weekend
- Appearances and Events > 2014 > HBO’s Project Greenlight Winners Announcement – November 7th, 2014
With Paul Greengrass set to direct again
The Bourne Reunion is officially official (though it’s not called The Bourne Reunion that we know of). E! News tracked Matt Damon down to a red carpet in Hollywood this weekend, and he’s confirmed that he and Paul Greengrass will indeed both return for a new outing of the action franchise.
“Yes, next year,” Damon told E!’s team. “It’ll be in 2016 when the movie will actually come out. Paul Greengrass is going to do another one and that’s all I ever said. I just needed him to say yes.” Damon was out promoting the new series of his filmmaking competition reality show Project Greenlight that is returning to US cable channel HBO.
And the news was initially brought up by Damon’s pal and Greenlight collaborator Ben Affleck, who was asked to compare their muscle tone given his recent Bat-workouts: “Well, Matt’s going to be doing a Bourne movie next fall when I’ve just completely lost any semblance of physical fitness…”
Damon and Greengrass have said on the record that they had no plans to revisit a story they felt they had already told. But then, they have both also mooted a potential return if the right script could be written and they could work together again, and that is the case now. With Damon’s comments, it appears the new Jason Bourne-focused film will indeed inherit the July 15, 2016 release slot that had been handed to the Bourne Legacy follow-up that Justin Lin is developing to direct.
EW has confirmed that Matt Damon will be starring in Alexander Payne’s new film, Downsizing.
The film, according to Deadline, is a social satire that follows a down-on-his-luck man who decides he can have a better life if he undergoes a process to shrink himself. It’s set at 20th Century Fox and Payne’s production company Ad Hominem Enterprises and will be written by Payne and Sideways co-writer Jim Taylor.
EW has also confirmed that the film will pull him out of starring in Zhang Yimou’s epic film, The Great Wall, which Damon was reportedly in talks to join. Damon will next start production on Ridley Scott’s The Martian and will be reteaming with Paul Greengrass for another installment in the Bourne franchise.
New Project for Matt and Ben!
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are setting their sights on cable.
The duo, via their Pearl Street Films, are developing drama Incorporated for Syfy, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Incorporated is described as a futuristic espionage thriller set in a world where corporations have seemingly unlimited power. The drama will be the story of one man’s efforts to beat the system.
Brothers David and Alex Pastor (Selfless, The Last Days) will pen the pilot, which hails from CBS Television Studios and Pearl Street. Ted Humphrey (The Good Wife) will serve as showrunner and executive producer, via his overall deal with the studio. Damon, Affleck and Pearl Street president Jennifer Todd are also attached to executive produce. Pearl Street creative executive Margaret Chernin is on board as associate producer.
For Pearl Street, Incorporated marks the shingle’s first scripted cable foray and second scripted overall. Last year, Fox handed out a pilot order to drama The Middle Man, with Affleck set to direct. The project was rolled to accommodate Affleck’s film commitment to Batman v. Superman. The company is currently producing HBO’s revival of Project Greenlight and is in preproduction on feature Live by Night, which was written and directed by leading man Affleck.
For Syfy, Incorporated arrives as the NBCUniversal-owned cable network is focusing more on science fiction fare a la Battlestar Galactica. The cabler has a roster of new dramas including Dominion, Ascension, 12 Monkeys, Olympus, Z Nation, The Expanse and Hunters joining returning series Defiance, Haven and Helix, among others.
Affleck, who currently stars in Gone Girl — the country’s No. 1 movie for two weeks in a row — is repped by WME and Ziffren Brittenham. Damon is also with WME and Ziffren Brittenham. The Pastor brothers are with WME and Kaplan/Perrone. Humphrey is with WME, Industry Entertainment and Hansen Jacobson.
New Bourne movie? Yes, please! Via Deadline:
DEADLINE EXCLUSIVE: Jason Bourne is coming back. Universal Pictures has begun making deals with Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass to reunite for their third film in The Bourne Identity series, sources tell me. This is an absolute stunner — and Universal would not comment nor would the reps — because Greengrass told Deadline as recently as last year that once Bourne regained his memory, there was no place else for the character to go creatively. His search formed the spine for the trilogy Damon starred in.
Well, they’ve figured it out. I’m told that the studio is so bullish on this that the intention is to make the reteam the next Bourne film to go into production to make the July 16, 2016, release slot that Universal had previously assigned to an untitled Bourne film. That means it would step in front of the spinoff sequel that is to reprise Jeremy Renner and be directed by Fast & Furious architect Justin Lin. That film, which began with the Tony Gilroy-directed The Bourne Legacy, remains in development. I thought its premise— Renner plays one of several genetically altered assassins, all of whom are targeted for death — was smart and satisfying on its own. Universal intends to continue that series and to broaden its franchise base, much the way that Marvel cranks out superhero films. The Bourne Legacy was a good start to a new franchise, but Jason Bourne is a hard act to follow. Now, franchise-hungry Universal has both of them. Lin can probably use the time, as he signed on to direct the second season of the HBO series True Detective.
I saw The Equalizer as it premiered in Toronto, and it reminded me of The Bourne Identity, in that both are sophisticated adult thriller franchises where the protagonists are capable of high-action exploits but aren’t running around in spandex. Even though I could not get corroboration, I am confident enough to say that, probably very soon, these deals will all be done and that fans will be pretty happy to have Bourne back.
Both Damon and Greengrass are perpetually busy. Damon next stars for Ridley Scott in The Martian, and Greengrass has several projects percolating, most recently circling at Fox The Ballad Of Richard Jewell, the story of the security guard at the Atlanta Olympics who uncovered a suspicious backpack and cleared the crowd away from a park before it exploded, only to be vilified as a possible terrorist in the advent of the 24-hour news cycle. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill are going to star in that one, and Captain Phillips scribe Billy Ray has penned the script. Damon’s repped by WME, Greengrass by CAA.
The last time Matt Damon and director Kenneth Lonergan worked together, the result was the well-regarded Margaret, which got stuck in release limbo for years as producers and financiers argued over its future. They’ll be hoping for an easier time of it on their next collaboration, Manchester-By-The-Sea.
Lonergan is working from a script he wrote that finds Damon as a plumber living in Boston who returns home to the titular town when he learns his brother has died. He’s landed with the responsibility of caring for his 16-year-old nephew, but a dark family tragedy from the past comes back to haunt him.
With Ender’s Game backers OddLot Entertainment providing the cash to make the film, Lonergan has worked quickly on this one, ramping up pre-production ready to kick off shooting in a month or so. Damon will be fitting the role into his schedule before he heads off to work on Ridley Scott’s sci-fi drama thriller The Martian, which itself is now recruiting the rest of the cast. Last on screen in The Monuments Men, Damon will next show up as part of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, which lands on November 7.