Matt Damon is committed to participating in a eight-part documentary series for Showtime from James Cameron and Jerry Weintraub, The Hollywood Reporter confirms.
Weintraub and Showtime declined to comment and Cameron did not return a call. However, sources say there is a deal with the pay TV service, but it is in the early stages, with financing and delivery date still to be determined.
The documentary, which is meant to show the human element of climate change, will be produced by David Gelber and Joel Bach, both of whom have worked at the CBS magazine show 60 Minutes. It is a timely subject in the wake of hurricane Sandy.
In addition to being a movie star and an Oscar winning screenwriter, Damon is also an active environmentalist and philanthropist. He is one of the founders of the Not On Our Watch Project, along with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, David Pressman and Weintraub. The group brings global attention and resources to prevent mass atrocities.
Damon has a range of charitable efforts. He’s a founder of what is now Water.org, a charitable group that works to provide clean water in Africa, and is a supporter of the One Campaign, aimed at fighting AIDS and poverty in the third world. He is also an ambassador for OneXOne, a non-profit that works to improve the lives of children. He’s been a spokesperson for Feeding America, a hunger relief organization. Additionally, he hosted and narrated the PBS Special Journey to Planet Earth, about the work of Lester Brown and other thoughtful environmentalists.
Damon’s upcoming movies include HBO’s Behind the Candelabra, which stars Michael Douglas as Liberace; and Promised Land, directed by Gus Van Sant, which he co-wrote with John Krasinski, Once again dealing with a controversial environmental subject, Promised Land, is about using “fracking” to produce oil. It is expected to get a limited release in late December.
Weintraub is a well-known Hollywood producer whose credits include Nashville, Diner and the Ocean’s 11 movies. He is also a philanthropist and in 2010, published a memoir written with Rich Cohen, When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man.It was also the basis of a 2011 HBO documentary, His Way.
When Avatar became a hit in 2009, Cameron came under fire from some on the right who claimed the movie was actually about the environment. The movie tells the story of an indigenous tribe whose land is taken by a big company that wants to exploit the resources. For the film’s home video release, Cameron partnered with Twentieth Century Fox, the environmental group Earth Day Network and others to promote the movie’s DVD release by planting a million trees.
Cameron has also done documentaries in the past that have explored the environmental impact of climate change in the oceans, and has lobbied governments including Canada to take the issue of climate change seriously.
Damon will be narrating the new PBS documentary Plan B: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, the latest installment in the “Journey to Planet Earth” series. The 90-minute doc is based on the book by climate crusader Lester Brown, and discusses the very real impact of climate change, and what we all must do to prevent future catastrophes. Joining Lester Brown and Matt Damon in the documentary are Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman, former Governor and Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, and others.
The documentary looks fascinating, and aims to provide “a glimpse into a new and emerging economy based upon renewable resources as well as strategies to avoid the growing threat of climate change.” Lester Brown seems to have some ambitious but realistic solutions, so let’s hope this plan goes into action.
The film will premiere on PBS on March 30th at 10pm Eastern.