We’ve got a couple updates on the latest projects from Oscar-winning screenwriting duo Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (yes, they act too). A few months ago Affleck was chosen by Warner Bros. to direct their big-budget adaptation of the Stephen King novel The Stand. While it’s been a while since we’ve heard any movement on the project, it now appears that Affleck has now set a screenwriter on the pic. After apparently wowing the studio with an adaptation of King’s It, David Kajganich (The Invasion) has been tapped to handle scripting duties. Hit the jump for much more, including news concerning the untitled drama that Damon was previously set to direct.
When we first reported on Affleck’s involvement with the project, we had no official confirmation that he was attached. With this news, courtesy of Vulture, it seems like he’s 100% onboard for the pic. A multi-film adaptation was being eyed when David Yates was flirting with the project, but here’s no word on whether or not that’s still the plan. It may be a while before Affleck moves onto The Stand full time, as he’s currently in post-production on his most recent directorial effort, Argo. In addition to directing, Affleck stars in the period/political drama alongside Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, and Michael Parks.
Additionally, Vulture’s report on Affleck includes an update on the untitled drama that was to serve as Matt Damon’s directorial debut. John Krasinski and Dave Eggers originated the story idea for the untitled drama, and Krasinski co-wrote the script with Damon. A few weeks ago Damon dropped out of the director’s chair, saying his packed schedule would prevent him from devoting the necessary time to direct the pic. He still plans to star, and they’ve attached Damon’s Good Will Hunting director Gus Van Sant to helm.
Though they’ve found their director, Warner Bros. has decided to drop the project. Vulture reports that Universal is now in negotiations with Damon to produce and distribute the flick, with Van Sant still onboard and plans to begin production on the $15 million drama by late April or early May. All seems to be well on the Damon and Affleck fronts, but I’m still itching to see the duo reunite on a project together. Plans are in motion for the two to work on a Whitey Bulger biopic, but it appears they’re going to be quite busy for the foreseeable future so I’m not sure when they’ll get to it.
Matt Damon will headline a benefit performance of dramatic readings at the Metro, 3730 N. Clark St., on Jan. 31. The Hollywood actor will be joined by the Steppenwolf Theatre’s Robert Breuler and Alana Arenas, various local poets and the Tribune’s Rick Kogan, among others.
The project, dubbed “The People Speak Live,” is based on the documentary “The People Speak” and involves performances of the actual words of various “rebels, dissenters and visionaries” from the American past and present. The producer is a national non-profit called Voices of a People’s History, in partnership with the Chicago-based Louder Than a Bomb, a youth-based, spoken-word program. Tickets are now on sale ($11-$24) at metrochicago.com.
Part of a new, yearlong arts and education initiative in Chicago, a benefit performance of “The People Speak, Live!” produced by Voices of a People’s History takes place at Metro, Tuesday, January 31st, 2012. Bringing to life the extraordinary history of ordinary people who made the United States what it is today, the evening pairs Academy Award®-winner Matt Damon with local Chicago talent for dramatic readings and songs of the actual words of rebels, dissenters, and visionaries from America’s past–and present.
“The People Speak, Live!” is based on the award-winning documentary feature The People Speak which had its broadcast premiere on HISTORY™ in December 2009. Seen by more than eight million people, The People Speak features Matt Damon reading John Steinbeck; Bob Dylan performing Woody Guthrie; Marisa Tomei describing the 1937 Flint sit-down strike; Morgan Freeman and Don Cheadle performing the words of Frederick Douglass; John Legend reading Muhammad Ali; and many others performing the work of both the acclaimed and anonymous in U.S. history.
The January 31st benefit performance of “The People Speak, Live!”–its Chicago premiere–will feature readings of a fifteenth century priest documenting Columbus’ arrival in the New World; a fugitive slave’s scathing letter to a former master; the words of pathbreaking Chicago labor organizers; testimony of civil rights activists; musical performances from the songbooks of Woodie Guthrie and one-time Chicagoan Sam Cooke; poetry from the earliest days of Hip-Hop; Studs Terkel’s interview with Mamie Mobley, the mother of Emmett Till; and more.
“It’s an honest and exciting look at where we’ve come from,” says Damon, a featured actor in and executive producer of The People Speak film. “The idea that all of the progress in America towards equality has been struggled for by everyday people, I hope will become a point of discussion for more students of all ages. With The People Speak, you’re getting the actual historical text verbatim; there’s no spin.”
Since 2003, Voices of a People’s History—the national non-profit that runs education and performing arts programs based on primary source materials has produced more than 100 performances in 17 states with casts that have included local students, parents, civic leaders, and actors alongside celebrated artists such as Black Thought of The Roots, Josh Brolin, Diane Lane, Danny Glover, Sandra Oh, Steve Earle, Robert Redford, Mark Ruffalo, Patti Smith, Kerry Washington, and Alfre Woodard–on stages ranging from small classrooms to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Sundance Film Festival.
Voices of a People’s History is producing the January 31st performance in partnership with Louder Than a Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival. Bringing together hundreds of youth across Chicago every year, Louder Than a Bomb is the city’s famous youth spoken word program, celebrating its 12th year in 2012 with the January broadcast premiere on the Oprah Winfrey Network of the award-winning documentary Louder Than a Bomb, directed by local filmmakers Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel.
Together, the organizations have initiated a yearlong pilot project, bringing free educational material, teacher workshops, and public arts programming to classrooms and communities across Chicago. The Chicago pilot project, like the film, is inspired by the work of the late historian Howard Zinn, author of the bestselling A People’s History of the United States (HarperCollins 1980) and, with Anthony Arnove, the primary source companion Voices of a People’s History of the United States (Seven Stories Press 2004).
Since the Chicago Voices pilot project launched in September 2011, more than 500 Chicago educators have received the free Chicago Voices Educators Toolkit, suitable for middle and high school and introductory college classes. The toolkit includes The People Speak DVD, a preloaded USB flash drive with standards-aligned lesson plans, teaching guides, primary source material featuring Chicago history, as well as several books by Howard Zinn. A total of 1,000 educators will receive the toolkit by the project’s end this June.
In addition, the pilot project has partnered with community groups–including Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Erie Neighborhood House, Victory Gardens Theatre, and the Occupy Chicago Education Committee–to host free screenings of the film The People Speak. These screenings will continue in the first half of this year.
Tuesday, January 31st, 7:00 pm, Doors 6:00 pm | Metro, 3730 N. Clark, Chicago, IL 60613 | Tickets on sale January 9th $11 advance GA, $14 at door, $24 seated, $99 premium package for two, available at the Metro box office and at http://www.metrochicago.com
Actor to read the works of John Steinbeck at Metro benefit
An event featuring dramatic theatre readings typically doesn’t draw a standing-room-only crowd, but we’re betting things will be different for an event later this month.
A-list actor Matt Damon is headlining a benefit performance at Metro on January 31.
Damon will be joined at “The People Speak Live” by several local poets and Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble members Robert Brueler and Alena Arenas.
The event is designed to “bring to life the extraordinary history of ordinary people who made the United States what it is today,” and features “readings and songs of the actual words of rebels, dissenters, prophets, and visionaries from America’s past and present.”
Tickets range from $11-$24 for the all-ages show.
Great new interview where Matt talks about We Bought a Zoo, music, crying while watching movies and Tom Cruise, by The Washington Post:
I’m a little worried about “We Bought a Zoo.”
With all the hype about mega-marketed holiday films such as “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” I fear moviegoers may forget all about Cameron Crowe and Matt Damon’s dramedy, or perhaps just dismiss it outright because the title is, admittedly, a little goofy.
They shouldn’t. For starters, Damon delivers one of the most authentic and likable star turns of his career as Benjamin Mee, the widower and father of two who, uh, well, buys a zoo. (In addition to being goofy, the title is also kind of a spoiler.)
I recently chatted with Damon and Crowe about the film for this Sunday Style piece, which, because of space limitations, couldn’t possibly capture the many topics covered during a 40-minute conversation. In addition to discussing New Yorker critic David Denby’s initial dismissal of “We Bought a Zoo,” we also talked about the impact that using music on the set (a signature Crowe move) had on Damon’s performance, as well as the acting abilities of their current multiplex competitor, Tom Cruise.
Here are more extracts from that interview, in which Damon uses big words like “amygdala” and says of Cruise, “He is a much better actor than I think people understand.”
Damon, on Crowe’s use of music during takes: There’s something that happens with music, and I’d never thought of using it this way, but it’s so brilliant because it’s so emotional. It’s like it leapfrogs your neocortex and goes straight to your amygdala and suddenly you’re feeling these things. It’s not rational; it’s going right really to your heart. As a performer, it’s just pulling stuff out of you.
That Jonsi music we have in the movie. . . . The song where I’m looking at the iPhoto stuff and looking at my wife [in the movie] — the song that’s in the movie is the song Cameron played that day, and it’s completely responsible for that whole sequence. It took me places that there is no amount of directing or cajoling or persuading he could have done to get me to that place. He didn’t say anything; he put the song on and we were gone. So that was something I’ve never seen before that’s an unbelievably valuable tool for me going forward, and eventually as a director.
Crowe, on why he changed his mind and decided to play music during certain takes of “We Bought a Zoo”: It happened on the first day when we were doing the scene in the hallway of the school. It was a close-up on Matt, and he kind of turned into the shot. I had two instincts: One is, wow, Matt has really connected to this character and this is the movie happening before me. And the second: I hear Tom Petty, “Don’t Come Around Here No More.”
So I put it on, on instinct, and something started to surge on Matt’s face and in the people around us, and it felt like music has always been for me, kind of an emotional partner. And suddenly we had kind of another character in the room, which was the music. As soon as the take was over, Matt and some other people came over and said, “Wow, I really felt that.” I think in that instant I pivoted and decided to keep doing it. And one of the reasons was because Matt just soaks up music. He’s a music fan, and the music was always a reminder of what movie we were in. And sometimes that’s so much more profound than anything you could say.
Damon, on whether he’ll use music when he makes his directorial debut next year: Definitely, definitely. I’m already thinking about that, when to use it and what songs. Because it really does work.
It was weird to come across a tactic — like, I thought I knew everything. Tactically speaking, without geeking out on theory, a lot of people make good movies, and I know a lot of them and we talk. And so, it was surprising to have this happen on the first day of filming. I was so excited. I had dinner with Ben Affleck that night, actually, and it’s all we talked about, was this Tom Petty thing that had happened. I just couldn’t believe it. I was like, man, you have no idea what this felt like. It was all about a feeling and being lifted by this music, and so yeah, it’s definitely something that I want to do. Because it works.
Damon, on what gets to him in Crowe’s movie “Jerry Maguire”:
There are a few parts, actually. I was watching it with my wife. It’s Tom [Cruise], is what gets to me. Tom’s performance is what gets to me, ultimately. He anchored that movie. He’s such a better actor than I think people understand, and that performance is still great 15 years later. It is worth going back and looking at again. It is one of the great leading-man performances.
When a movie gets to you, there are a bunch of things that start to work on you. The relationship between Cuba [Gooding Jr.]’s character and his wife, that starts to get to me. By the end of it I’m just so teed up for the final scene with Tom and Renee [Zellweger] in front of the women’s group. My wife looks over, and tears are running down [my face] and I’m wiping them away.
But it got to her, too. . . . I’m not ashamed to say that.
Crowe and Damon, on the possibility of Crowe making a movie that brings together Damon, Cruise and “Say Anything . . .” star John Cusack:
Damon: I love that idea.
Crowe: Oh, man. Tom Cruise came to visit the set when we were making “We Bought a Zoo,” and I kind of stood back at a certain point and watched the two of them talking, and I had the same idea. It’s like, damn. . . .
Damon: I had met [Tom Cruise] briefly a couple of times, but we really got to talk and, uh, spend a little time together. And then I talked to him on the phone after he saw some scenes. He dropped by the editing room and saw some stuff and called me. And that was amazing.
Matt Damon is featured on the January 2012 cover of GQ magazine.
Is there friggin’ anything Matt Damon can’t do? As the action hero/leading man/activist/Oscar-winning screenwriter/sitcom revelation/Internet meme finally makes the transition to Serious Director, we’re about to find out
I’m ducking Matt Damon. We’re supposed to meet at the Central Park Zoo ticket booth precisely at noon, but I’m not there. I’m thirty feet away, standing behind a huge oak tree, keeping watch.
Cameron Crowe, the director, has urged me to try to get a glimpse of the 41-year-old actor when he doesn’t know I’m there. “Matt’s fans relate to him as an older brother or a member of the family. And that’s how he relates to them,” Crowe says, recalling how during the shoot of their new movie, We Bought a Zoo, he liked to do reconnaissance on Damon as he signed autographs and interacted with his public.
The Boston native, who now calls New York home, can be reticent in interviews, reluctant to reveal too much or get too personal. I want to observe him in his natural habitat, and I imagine that my stealth will be rewarded with the kind of unguarded moment that can only be viewed in the wild. As minutes pass, however, and I don’t spot him anywhere, a thought looms: This is Jason Bourne I’m hunting—the master of evasion. What if Matt Damon is ducking me?
Stepping into the open, I sort of wave my notebook like a journalistic homing beacon, and suddenly there he is, all smiles. “Hi, I’m Matt,” he says, extending a hand. He’s in jeans, a gray waffle-y long-sleeve T-shirt, and what look to be brand-new black Puma sneakers. He has a knit cap pulled down to his eyebrows, which makes it easy to notice that his hat and his eyes are exactly the same blue. He’s taller than I thought he’d be and exactly a quarter inch taller than the man standing next to him: a gray-haired, bespectacled guy in pleated chinos and a baseball cap.
“This,” Damon proclaims, “is my dad.”
When Damon the younger pulls out a credit card to gain us entry to what we will all agree must be the smallest zoo on earth, Damon the elder (his name is Kent) observes wryly, “This is the first time the son buys the father a ticket to the zoo. When has that happened before?” Whereupon the son grins big and says, “There’s, like, a disturbance in the Force!”
“Come on,” Kent says. “Let’s go see the polar bears.”
As we set off, I’m immediately struck by the constant cross-generational ball-busting between father and son. For example, the story of when 12-year-old Matt announced his intent to play point guard for the Boston Celtics.
Kent: I said, “Matt, I have to tell you a little bit about the real world.”
Matt: My favorite player was Tiny Archibald, and he goes, “You know they call him Tiny because he’s six foot one.” He told me that he was the tallest Damon to ever evolve at five foot ten.
Kent: Five ten and a half, by the way.
Matt: Used to be, man.
Kent: Not that we’re sensitive about it.
Read the rest of the article at GQ.com
More Matt Damon & Steve Sodebergh movies? I approve! And it’s a competition with George Clooney? Meaning more movies from both? I approve twice!
Washington, Oct 17 (ANI): Matt Damon has revealed that he is determined to outdo his friend George Clooney and appear in more of director Steven Soberbergh’s movies than him.
Till now both the stars have been seen in the same number of Soberbergh’s movies, with each of them having one in the pipeline, but now Damon has shown his will to outdo his friend in the collaboration stakes.
“We’re tied at six. But I’m going to win – that’s all I’m saying. We each have another one lined up with Steve and then I’m hoping that I can sneak in as an extra in the one he directs after that. I told Steven that it really matters to me. I want the title. I really want it,” Contactmusic quoted him as saying.
The 41-year-old actor who can next be seen in ‘Contagion’, a thriller about a fatal pandemic that sweeps the world admitted that the subject matter made everybody involved in the movie more hygiene conscious.
“Steve actually sent the script over with a note that read, ‘Read this and then wash your hands.’
“We were saying when we were making the movie, ‘We should get some stocks in Purell [a hand sanitiser]‘. We did have that conversation,” he added.
Via: Truth Dive
Matt Damon has revealed George Clooney may be “a pro” at pranks, but Brad Pitt once got the better of him.
The trio worked together on Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen, and Matt admitted the silver-haired heartthrob was hard to catch out.
“I’ve never gotten George, no. The thing is, George is a pro. He’s very tough to get. He’s got them all down. He’s very, very funny,” he told Shortlist magazine.
But the Contagion actor added: “The best one I saw on George was on Ocean’s Twelve when Brad had a fake memo translated and given to the Italian crew. It was this whole thing saying, ‘Please do not look Mr Clooney in the eye, only refer to him as Mr Ocean or Danny (the name of George’s character).’
“It was so the opposite of George that he was mortified and when he found out, he was not happy about it.
“So that was the one time I saw someone get him.”
Back in 1997, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck catapulted to stardom, winning an Oscar for writing “Good Will Hunting,” the coming-of-age story in which they also starred. They were the young toasts of Hollywood, and in the years that followed, each went on to make some impressive films: “Saving Private Ryan,” “Rounders” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley” for Damon, and “Armageddon,” “Shakespeare In Love” and “Boiler Room” for Affleck.
Damon continued to make hit films, starting up the Bourne series, amongst others, but it became a bit more dicey for Affleck. He suffered through a number of public relationships, and began featuring in movies that didn’t quite hit it big with the public or critics; “Gigli” and “Daredevil,” amongst others, now stain his IMDB page.
Life wasn’t easy, and as his best friend and writing partner, Damon had a hard time watching it.
“That was really hard for me to watch as his friend, because I didn’t think it was fair to him,” Damon told Shortlist.com, before shifting over to Affleck’s more recently revived career. “It’s more of a relief to me, to be honest. As his writing partner, I know how great he is. I always knew that better than anybody, so now I just feel vindicated. So I’m not at all surprised, but I’m glad to see him doing so well and it’s turned back the way it should be. Everything is right with the Force again.”
Indeed, Affleck has returned to making hit movies, not only as an actor, but now as a director, too. He got behind the camera for his first feature in 2007, directing the solidly received “Gone Baby Gone,” and then scored a major hit with his 2010 crime pic, “The Town.”
In fact, the two old partners are planning a reunion.
“Yeah, we really want to work together again,” he said. “We have a couple of things we’re developing and we have a deal together over at Warner Bros, but he’s making a great movie right now called ‘Argo.’ It’s really, really good.”
Affleck is directing and starring in that film, the true story of the bizarre way the CIA worked to rescue hostages in Iran in the late 70s. Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Kyle Chandler and Alan Arkin also star in the film. Damon, who just featured in Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion,” will next star in Cameron Crowe’s “We Bought A Zoo,” and was just announced as a co-star in HBO’s biopic of Liberace.
Looks like Liberace production will start next year! Sure seems like an awesome story! From Hollywood Reporter:
Michael Douglas and Matt Damon have been tapped to star in HBO Films’ Liberace biopic.
Behind the Candelabrawill star Douglas as Liberace in the project that takes a behind-the-scenes look at the relationship between the legendary entertainer and Scott Thorson, his younger, live-in lover (Damon).
The project will be executive produced by Jerry Weintraub (Ocean’s Eleven) and produced by Gregory Jacobs (The Informant!) and Susan Ekins (The Karate Kid series), with Steven Soderbergh (Traffic) directing the script by Richard LaGravenese (Water for Elephants).
“This is a story that’s going to surprise a lot of people,” HBO Films president Len Amato said Tuesday in announcing the casting. “It’s funny, heartbreaking and always fascinating, and we are delighted that Jerry and Steven brought the film to HBO. With Steven at the helm, directing such accomplished actors as Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, this is a dream project for us.”
Production will begin next summer in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Palm Springs.
For Weintraub, the project marks a reunion with the premium cable network that aired his biopic, His Way this year.
“I’ve wanted to make a film about Liberace for a very long time, and after the amazing experience I had with HBO on His Way, I knew that they were absolutely the right place for this movie,” he said. “I am thrilled that we have the incomparable Michael Douglas to inhabit the role of Liberace, as well as the exceptional Matt Damon to play the pivotal part of Scott Thorson. Putting these two fine actors in the creative hands of Steven Soderberg — it doesn’t get better than that.”
Soderbergh, meanwhile, noted HBO’s “fearless approach” to original programming in bringing the project to the pay cabler.
“From the inception of this project, we’ve had two priorities: getting it right creatively, and getting as many people as possible to see it,” he said.
For Weintraub, the project marks the latest in a string of small-screen work. CBS earlier this month picked up The Producer, a period drama project. set in the world of the evening news.