Had you wanted to work with Joel and Ethan Coen for sometime?
Matt Damon: Yeah, forever. I first met Joel in 1994 when I did a cable TV movie [‘The Good Old Boys’] with his wife Fran [Frances McDormand] down in West Texas. So I had met Joel in West Texas 16 years ago and it took them that long to offer me a job! [laughs]. But I was dying to work with them and any actor you talk to would say the same thing. If you ask for a shortlist of directors, they would be right there.
Was it fun building your character, LaBoeuf?
MD: He’s a great character and it was a lot of fun. I worked with Tommy Lee Jones in 1994 when he directed ‘The Good Old Boys’, which Fran and I did with him and that’s when I first met Joel and Ethan. And Joel and Ethan subsequently worked with Tommy to incredible effect in ‘No Country for Old Men’ and Tommy gave a remarkable performance in that. And actually, I had Tommy as a frame of reference [for ‘True Grit’] because he’s from West Texas. And he’s also somebody who is really fun to listen to, he knows a lot about a lot, and there’s something of the English teacher in him – you can ask him an obscure question and he enjoys knowing what he knows [laughs]. And so we kind of riffed on that. It’s not exact but it’s a similar way of presentation. My character in ‘True Grit’ is supposed to be a windbag – it’s like he comes over as a man who knows everything but actually doesn’t know very much at all! Not that Tommy’s like that, but Tommy is a great storyteller. And that was where we started to build the guy.