wild bald Matt Damon appears. Another interview with Matt Damon about the film Contagion. Parts 1 and 2 below.
Emily hinted that you believe in love at first sight because of how you met your wife. Is this true?
It is. It’s funny, I’m sure that it was, but I wonder – now that we have four kids and have built this life together – if I’m retroactively imbuing that moment with all of the subsequent experiences. I feel like it was love at first sight, but maybe that’s just my revisionist history.
Do you remember what she was wearing?
I remember her smile. That’s what I remember more than anything.
Do you believe in destiny? Do you believe you have your own life in your hands?
It’s one of those questions that you can’t answer and I think that’s why people have been asking it for millennia. We’re trying to propose it in a fun way in this movie. I feel like I’m in control of everything until I look back at my life and go, “Wait a minute, what odd series of events took place.” There is that Garth Brooks song where he sings “Thank God for unanswered prayers” – every job that I auditioned for that I was desperate to get that I didn’t might have taken me down a different path. It’s that thing where I feel stuff could be predestined, but I sure like to think that my choices were better.
What made you choose this film?
George (Nolfi, Director) is my friend and when he first showed it to me we had worked on one movie together, Ocean’s Twelve. Subsequently while he was doing more and more drafts of The Adjustment Bureau, we did the third Bourne movie and that was a movie that we were writing as we went. It was a lot of pressure and going through that experience with him and spending hundreds of hours in hotel rooms trying to figure out what we were going to shoot the next day, I knew he could handle the pressure of directing. There was so much more pressure in the Bourne situation that I knew this would be kind of a cakewalk.
What about the story?
I thought the story was interesting. I hadn’t really done a love story and I really loved the idea of a modern-day love story, the obstacle to which was this Philip K. Dick creation of this Adjustment Bureau. It seemed tonally to be really unique and not like anything I’d ever seen and ambitious in that way, but also ultimately a really entertaining and a fun movie. Plus, I believe in George.
Do you think that actors are like politicians, that they hide behind an image to sell tickets?
To a certain degree. I really wonder how much you can micromanage an image anymore. I think with technology being what it is, there’s very little mystery left with public people. Celebrities get followed around 24 hours a day and get their pictures taken 24 hours a day. You can open up a magazine and see where they spent their entire week and when they went to Starbucks. There’s very little intrigue.
The inside story of Matt Damon’s bold yet sane plan to use his celebrity and smarts to help attack one of the globe’s great crises.
Once upon a time, Matt Damon went for a long walk in rural Zambia. The devoted family man and method philanthropist was accompanying a 14-year-old Zambian girl who had no idea that her hiking companion was an Academy Award-winning international heartthrob.
The walk came toward the end of a 10-day African journey, a systematic primer on the complexities of the continent’s extreme poverty that had been organized for Damon by staffers from his friend Bono’s ONE campaign. Damon was on a quest to understand what it meant to be really, really poor. “It was like a mini course in college,” he says. Every day brought a different subject: urban AIDS, microfinance, education, and, finally, water. While walking with the young teen on her hour-long trudge to collect water for her family, something clicked. “We talked the whole time [through a translator]. When I asked her what she wanted to do when she grew up — ‘Do you want to stay here?’ ” he says, pointing to the memory of the dusty village — “she got shy all of a sudden.” As they returned, both toting 5-gallon jugs of water filled at the well, she finally confessed her dream: to go to the big city, Lusaka, and become a nurse. Damon recalled his dreams at the same age, when he and best friend Ben Affleck were plotting their way from Boston to casting agents in New York. That connection opened the door for Damon. “I remembered so well the feeling of being young, when that whole world of possibility was open to you.”
But while Damon’s dream was made possible by Amtrak, the girl’s was possible only because somebody drilled a borewell near her home — and, yes, an hour’s walk for water is good news in lots of places in the world. Nearly 1 billion souls lack access to clean water; three times that number lack access to proper sanitation. “This is not something that most 14-year-olds have to go through,” says Damon, 40. Without access to the water, his companion would have been unable to go to school and would likely have been forced into a precarious fight for life, spending her days scavenging for often-filthy water in unhealthy and unsafe environments. “Now she can hope to be a nurse and contribute to the economic engine of Zambia,” he says. “Of all the different things that keep people in this kind of death spiral of extreme poverty, water just seemed so huge.” He pauses. “And it doesn’t have to be.”
Damon tells me this story on a rainy spring day in Manhattan, after a full schedule of board meetings for Water.org, the charity he cofounded in 2009, three years after his Zambia trip, with longtime water expert, and now dear friend, Gary White. It has been a long day but a good one, and Damon has more news to share. He checks his watch. “I have to pick up my daughter from school. Come along and we’ll keep talking,” he tells me. As we make our way from a conference room at McKinsey in Midtown (a board member works there) to a car waiting on the street, I watch passersby light up in recognition and try to catch his eye. In spite of his attempt to blend in — Damon is wearing glasses, a splash of whiskers, and a Panavision baseball cap — he is unmistakable. And he never fails to return a smile. “Clearly my strong suit is and will be trying to get people to care about this issue,” he says of his primary role. “Our vision is clean water and sanitation for everyone, in our lifetime …” he trails off. “So we better get to work.”
For all his star power, though, Damon is more than just the pretty face of Water.org. He has turned himself into a development expert. This would seem like an obvious and necessary first step for someone embracing the global water crisis as a personal mission. But, in fact, it’s highly unusual for a celebrity to dive this deep into a problem this daunting. Whether talking microfinance strategy with rural bankers, giving detailed reports from the field at the annual Clinton Global Initiative, or personally thanking donors like PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, Damon has quietly developed the cred of a program geek. “If you want to understand how this works,” he says, sounding more like an anthropologist than a celebrity spokesperson, “there is no substitute for going there and talking to people in their homes.” It’s an approach he comes by honestly. His mother, a professor of early childhood education, spent part of her summers living with local families in Guatemala and Mexico, attending language school in preparation for her field research. She brought her impressionable teenage son along. “She specialized in nonviolent conflict resolution,” Damon explains. In war-torn areas like El Salvador, she interviewed children, studied their artwork, and documented their trauma. “So I’d seen extreme poverty at an early age,” he says. “I knew what it was, and I always cared about it.” He has replicated her research process, immersing himself in the business of social enterprise until he found the cause that he felt passion for — water.
You can read the rest of the article on Fast Company website.
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.
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 and Emily Blunt learn that their fate may be in the hands of a mysterious organization in ‘The Adjustment Bureau,’ in theaters March 4, and we have a first look behind the scenes at what Emily calls a “brain-melting experience”!
“They’re kind of a timeless group of people who are essentially guardian angels,” says Matt of the title organization. “There’s a master plan written in a language that our brains couldn’t possibly comprehend. … If somebody’s kind of going off-plan a little bit, they give them a little adjustment.”
Based on a Philip K. Dick story, ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ casts Matt as David Norris, an ambitious politician on the brink of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate. When he meets beautiful ballet dancer Elise Sellas, he is instantly smitten — and the course of his future changes, prompting the Adjustment Bureau to intervene, no matter what the cost.