Going from obscure actor to Hollywood golden boy in just a handful of years, Matt Damon became an instant sensation when he co-wrote and starred in Good Will Hunting. With his Best Original Screenplay Oscar (shared by co-writer and co-star Ben Affleck), he was ensured a place on the Hollywood "It" boy roster. A product of Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he was born on October 8, 1970, Damon grew up in prosperous surroundings with his tax preparer father, college professor mother, and older brother. At the age of ten, he made the acquaintance of one Ben Affleck, a boy two years his junior who lived down the street. The two became best friends and professional collaborators. Educated at Cambridge's Rindge and Latin School, Damon was accepted at Harvard University, where he studied for three years before dropping out to pursue his acting career. During his time there, he had to write a screenplay for an English class: it went unfinished, but it would later be dusted off and turned into Good Will Hunting. Arriving in Hollywood, Damon got his first break with a one-scene part in Mystic Pizza (1988). However, his film career failed to take off, and it was not until 1992, when he had a starring role in School Ties, that he was again visible to movie audiences. As the film was a relative failure, Damon's substantial role failed to win him notice, and he was back to laboring in obscurity. It was around this time, fed up with his Hollywood struggles, that Damon contacted Affleck, and the two finished writing the former's neglected screenplay and began trying to get it made into a film. It was eventually picked up by Miramax, with Gus Van Sant slated to direct and Robin Williams secured in a major role.
Before Good Will Hunting was released in 1997, Damon won some measure of recognition for his role as a drug-addicted soldier in Courage Under Fire; various industry observers praised his performance and his dedication to the part, for which he lost forty pounds and suffered resulting health problems. Any praise Damon may have received, however, was overshadowed the following year by the accolades he garnered for Good Will Hunting. His Oscar win and strong performance in the film virtually guaranteed industry adulation and steady employment, something that was made readily apparent the following year with lead roles in two major films. The first, John Dahl's Rounders, cast Damon as a former card shark trying to make good, despite the temptations posed by his ne'er-do-well buddy (Edward Norton). Despite a name cast and preliminary hype, however, the film proved a relative critical and financial disappointment. The same could not be said of Damon's second film that year, Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan. As Ryan's title character, Damon headlined an all-star line-up and received part of the lavish praise heaped on the film and its strong ensemble cast.
The following year, Damon further increased his profile with leads in two more highly anticipated films, Anthony Minghella's The Talented Mr. Ripley and Kevin Smith's Dogma. The former cast the actor against type as the title character, a psychotic bisexual murderer, and featured him as part of an improbably blonde and photogenic cast that included Cate Blanchett, Jude Law, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Dogma also allowed Damon to go against his nice-guy persona by casting him as a fallen angel. One of the year's more controversial films, it reunited him with Affleck, as well as Smith, who had cast Damon in a bit role in his 1997 film, Chasing Amy. Taking a break from psychosis and religious satire, Damon next turned-up in notable performances in a pair of low-grossing, low-key dramas, The Legend of Beggar Vance and All the Pretty Horses (both 2000), before appearing in director Steven Soderbergh's blockbuster remake of the Rat Pack classic Oceans 11 the following year.
2002 found the actor vacillating between earnest indie projects and major Hollywood releases, both behind and in front of the camera. First up was Damon's mentoring of neophyte filmmaker Chris Smith in the Miramax-sponsored Project Greenlight, a screenplay sweepstakes in which in the (arguably) lucky winner got the chance to make a feature film and have the process recorded for all to see on an HBO reality series of the same name. Damon's common-sense presence helped make the show a must-see, even if his protege's film -- the critically-reviled coming-of-age film Stolen Summer -- died a swift death at the box office. Damon had better luck at the summer box office, starring in director Doug Liman's jet-setting espionage thriller The Bourne Identity. Though many expected the film to be overshadowed by his old buddy Affleck's less-edgy The Sum of All Fears - which was released just two weeks prior -- Damon proved once again that he could open a film with just as much star power as his best friend and colleague. Better yet, Bourne reinforced Damon's standings with the critics, who found his performance understated and believable.
Critics took notice of a disparaging ilk, however, when they caught a glimpse of Damon's reunion project with Good Will Hunting director Gus Van Sant, the curiously-styled Gerry. Premiering not long after Stolen Summer at the 2002 Sundance Festival, Van Sant's latest dip into the shallow end of the avant-garde pool featured Damon as Gerry, a mostly-silent young man who gets lost in the desert with another mostly-silent young man, played by Casey Affleck, who also happens to be named Gerry. The improvisational film made little impact on festival audiences, but the star's name was enough to ensure it a limited release that fall.
The next year, Damon starred opposite Greg Kinnear in the Farrelly Brothers' Stuck On You. Tackling the touchy subject of conjoined twins in a broad comedy, the film was a hit with audiences and garnered positive reviews from critics. Switching gears in 2004, Damon returned to the role of Jason Bourne for the sequel The Bourne Supremacy. When the film opened at number-one, it served as proof of Damon's continued clout with audiences. Later that same year, he could be seen as half of The Brothers Grimm and in another sequel, Ocean's Twelve.
Matt Damon Gets a 'Greenlight'
There's an old axiom that if one thing's working in your life, something else isn't. If your health is good, your bank balance is anemic; you find $20 bucks on the sidewalk, but somebody dings your car door -- that sort of thing.
In a way, that's the story of Matt Damon's life right now. The 34-year-old actor is coming off three successful big-budget films: "The Bourne Identity," "The Bourne Supremacy" and "Oceans Twelve." Waiting in the wings for release are Terry Gilliam's "The Brothers Grimm," Stephen Gaghan's "Syriana," with George Clooney, and "The Good Shepherd," in which Damon plays the younger version of Robert De Niro, who also directs.
Damon is now starting work on "The Departed," for director Martin Scorsese, with co-stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson and Mark Wahlberg. Oh, after that there's "The Bourne Ultimatum," due out in 2006.
"It's going well now," Damon says. "I've gotta work when I can."
On the other hand, things haven't been going so well with "Project Greenlight," the reality series that chronicles the low-budget filmmaking efforts of first-time directors and writers chosen through a contest.
Damon is executive producer of "Project Greenlight," along with fellow LivePlanet principals Ben Affleck, Larry Tanz and Chris Moore, and the studio involved has been Bob and Harvey Weinstein's Miramax. The films produced from the first two seasons, 2002's "Stolen Summer" and 2003's "The Battle of Shaker Heights," tanked at the box office.
Things have been shaken up for the show's third season. First, "Project Greenlight" has moved from pay-cable HBO to basic-cablenet Bravo.
"We're on Bravo this year," Damon says, "which is really good for us, because it's in much more homes than HBO, and they're doing really good programming over there."
Also, this time the studio is Dimension, a division of Miramax, and the mandate is to do what that studio does best -- produce mass-market horror flicks. Damon and partners also called in veteran horror writer/producer/director Wes Craven ("Scream," "A Nightmare on Elm Street") as a producer on the movie.
The first episode premiered on Tuesday, March 15, when it was revealed that the script is "Feast," a monster tale by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunston -- not considered the best script, but the most marketable one -- and the director is talented but inarticulate John Gulager, a 46-year-old Los Angeles cameraman and editor.
"We had to do a horror movie this year," Damon says. "We did it with Dimension instead of Miramax, because we lost enough of Miramax's money. They were kind of sick of us, so we did it with Dimension. Bob Weinstein was literally saying, 'How are we going to sell this thing?'
"It's about the marketing. It's about the genre. It's a different world."
Both "Summer" and "Shaker" were character-driven, coming-of-age stories, which don't fit easily into a marketing niche.
"You're shooting in such a small bull's-eye when you're trying to make a character movie for a low budget," Damon says. "There are the 'Reservoir Dogs' or 'Swingers' even, but those movies are really rare. There's God knows how many little horror movies that you and I have never seen, but were made for a small budget and got their money back and made a little profit."
Fans will have to tune in to the show's remaining eight one-hour episodes on Tuesdays to see if Gulager falls prey to some of the melodramatic hijinks indulged in by the season-two directing tag team of Kyle Rankin and Efram Potelle.
"It's like the bad second act of the movie," Damon says, "where the guy finds out he's king, like 'King Ralph.' Or like 'Bruce Almighty,' with Jim Carrey as God blowing someone's skirt up. It's that first reaction to having this power that you never thought you'd have. Then you get over that.
"They're suddenly the director, and everybody is listening to them. They're in charge of 60 people. You can [get drunk on it]. Most people I know don't, or didn't, even when they could have, but these guys ... and also, they've got a camera in their face for 24 hours, so if they have one moment of weakness, the director's going to pull that clip and use it, because she's trying to make a TV show."
Damon still feels good about giving talented amateurs a chance, but like the reality of Hollywood, it's all about the bottom line in the end.
"If we don't make money this time," he says, "we're f***ing cooked. That's it. No one else is going to give us money for this project. I think, on Bravo, we'll get more viewers, and hopefully they'll go see the f***ing movie, and we can do it again."
Matt Damon: Aiming for Quality
Matt Damon returns to familiar territory in "The Bourne Supremacy," the second movie to be adapted from author Robert Ludlum's series of novels about undercover operative Jason Bourne. This time, though, Paul Greengrass is at the helm, replacing "The Bourne Identity" director Doug Liman. As Damon told MTV News' Jeff Cornell, doing a familiar job with an unfamiliar boss was no problem, but if they want him to come back for a third flick, the script had better meet the high standards set forth by the first two installments.
MTV: It must be an unusual challenge playing the same character again.
Matt Damon: Yeah, something that I hadn't done before in movies. I've done it with plays. Back in college, we'd have a good run of a play and the next semester they'd go, "Let's do it again." So I've done that before, but with a movie this is the first time. And it was great, because I put a lot of work in on first one and really knew kinda what worked for me and what hadn't. It was a lot easier to get back into it the second time.
MTV: What did Paul Greengrass bring to the franchise as a director?
Damon: He's incredible, obviously. I mean, that is one of the reasons I did the movie was because he was going to direct it. Basically, it's his style. The way he wanted to shoot the movie was to make it feel very observed, never theatrical. You know, none of his scenes feel theatrical or staged or anything — you feel like you are a fly on the wall.
A good example of that was, one of the first days I worked with him was in Russia, in Moscow, and we were walking through a tunnel, and in the scene I'm supposed to check my shoulder because I've been hurt at this point. I'm supposed to check my shoulder and then check my hand for blood. The Steadicam operator was right next to me, and I turned to him and said, "Hey, all right now, what is your bottom frame?" And he said, "I'm cutting you about here." [He motions to his chest.] I said, "OK, well listen. I'm gonna check the blood, but I'll pull my hand up there so you can see the blood." And Paul came running, and he said, "No, no, no, no, no." He said, "You just do it natural. You do it exactly naturally." And he turned to the Steadicam operator and he said, "Clemens, go down for the blood when he goes to check it, and even if we don't see it, we'll know what it is. It will tell the story." And so it completely liberates the actors to be as natural as possible, and he captures it kind of in his own style.
MTV: This is a tale of an extraordinary person in extraordinary circumstances. It's grounded in realism, though — you know, he gets hurt, he has to read maps.
Damon: Well, that was something that is a bunch of stuff left over from the first movie — we just really wanted him to logically think his way out of situations. And we always thought that was the cool part of him because he's the guy, you know, in the first movie, in the embassy, he pulls the map off the wall and gets a radio. He throws the gun away. The gun is useless to him because he's not gonna confront with a 9 mm, you know, the [entire group of] Marines [pursuing him]. He has to figure out another way to get out of there. So he goes with a map and a radio and he makes his way out. And we really liked that part of the character. In any situation, we just wanted to make it as real as possible. Like, yeah, he's in Russia, he doesn't really know his way around, he's being chased by the cops — he's gotta look at a map. That's what you gotta do.
MTV: Do you see yourself returning for another one, two of these?
Damon: I'd like to only if we have a good story to tell. I'm really happy to let it just lie here because I'm really proud of this one and I was worried making it. Not worried, but I felt a lot of pressure because I didn't want to add my name to the list of people who make a crappy sequel to a good movie, you know? And it's hard to make a good movie, but particularly with a sequel I think the audience really resents you when you make something and they're like, "You just did this for cash, you bastard." And I didn't wanna be a part of anything like that. So I'm open to it because I love the character, I really love these two movies, and I'd love to make a third one that's as good as these first two, but we gotta make sure we get it right before we do anything.
Matt Damon sounds out The Bourne Ultimatum
Matt Damon has fuelled the hope of Bourne fans everywhere by hinting at a possible third installment of the secret agent drama.
A third installment seems very natural after the roaring success of The Bourne Identity, based on Robert Ludlum's novel of the same name, and last year's sequel The Bourne Supremacy - which just won best film at the Empire Awards.
However, Jason Bourne actor, Damon said that it all depends on whether they will be able to find a decent script and hinted that they won't stick to novel's storyline, which featured Bourne facing his nemesis Carlos The Jackal.
"We'll probably do that in about a year and a half. We're all signed on in principle, in the sense that we've all agreed that we want to do it, but we're not going to do it unless we have a great script.It's ours to lose at the minute, and if we do make a third one, we want to make it as good as the first two. And if we can't do that, then we're going to have to let it drop", Fox News quoted him as saying to Empire online.
"We're essentially retaining the title, so it's going to be called The Bourne Ultimatum. But we don't know at this point what the hell that means! So if you have any ideas for a script, then please...", he added.
Matt Damon is ShoWest Male Star of the Year
He might be a big-time movie star, but the truth is, Matt Damon is a regular guy. The fresh-faced Oscar winner (for co-writing 1997's "Good Will Hunting" with buddy Ben Affleck), star of the Jason Bourne series (2002's "The Bourne Identity" and 2004's "The Bourne Supremacy") and more than 30 other films not only does not own a cell phone, he eschews flying and prefers to drive his mom back home to Boston when she visits him in New York. "She has only complained about my speeding once," he says, grinning.
Damon is sticking to the metaphorical fast lane, starring in Dimension's planned July release "The Brothers Grimm" and Warner Bros. Pictures' planned September release "Syriana," executive producing a third season of "Project Greenlight" (now on Bravo) and executive producing the "project" in question, Dimension's upcoming thriller "Feast." He also has earned his second ShoWest honor, for Male Star of the Year -- his first came in 1998 for Male Star of Tomorrow. Damon chatted recently with The Hollywood Reporter's Randee Dawn about the award, being an unlikely action hero and keeping his eye on the ball.
The Hollywood Reporter: So, we hear you prefer driving to flying.
Matt Damon: It's the easiest way to get (to Boston from New York) nowadays. I like to drive because I'm alone. I don't have a cell phone, I listen to the radio, and it's nice; it energizes me.
THR: What does receiving this second ShoWest honor mean to you?
Damon: It means a lot because I never thought I'd get it. A couple of years ago, I was having trouble getting a job, period.
THR: I don't seem to remember that dry spell.
Damon: Before the first "Bourne" movie came out, I did a couple movies, (2000's) "All the Pretty Horses" and "The Legend of Bagger Vance," and neither of them did very well. And the word on ("The Bourne Identity") was that it was going to be a turkey, too, because we reshot a couple of times. So, slowly I felt the distancing process beginning because I think the standard rule of thumb is three strikes, and you're out. The first "Bourne" was a success, and everything was OK. But the rose-colored lenses came off.
THR: When that was happening, your career was not going where you wanted it to. How did you deal with it?
Damon: I'd already been in the union for 11 years before "Good Will Hunting" came out; I'd been on the sidelines, and Ben and I watched other people's careers and had a pretty good sense of the business before we started to get work. It gave us a pretty real perspective on how the business works. It's not really personal, and I understand it's not necessarily fair, either. I do understand that if I was running a business, and they said, "Hey, in the year 2000, do you want to put $70 million on a movie with Matt Damon in it," I'd have probably balked, too. So, I get it.
THR: How did you know that you wanted to continue acting?
Damon: Well, I love to do it. I did a play in London and got away from everything. And there would still be low-budget movies. Ben and I always feel like we can write something. No matter how bad it gets for us now, we'll be in a much better position than we were in 10 years ago, so we can always write our own thing and find a little money to make things small, to scale things down. Neither of us have ever really been big trailer guys.
THR: Despite your all-American guy persona, your most successful films have seen you playing against that type -- an action hero in the "Bourne" films and a con man in 1999's "The Talented Mr. Ripley."
Damon: The "Bourne" ones surprised me, too. Ripley was such a great role and so well-written that I had a huge advantage on that one. Action-movie expectations are such that I was really surprised when (director) Doug Liman offered me ("Bourne"). He said, "I want to make a James Bond for our era." And I said, "Oh, that's great. Who are you thinking of?" And that's when he said me. I was really shocked. The approach to those movies, too, is less an action-movie approach. The action grows organically out of the stories.
THR: The third season of "Greenlight" started airing Tuesday. Are you still excited by that?
Damon: I am. We found a great director this year, and I've seen the first couple episodes of the show. I was always less concerned about (the show) because the show's always good. But the movie -- if we don't have a movie this time that works, I think the project will be dead in the water. I can't imagine anybody else giving us a million or $2 million to go lose again.
THR: Why do you think the films haven't worked commercially?
Damon: I think in reality it's a really hard thing to direct a low-budget movie your first time out. Each script we've had has so far been pretty good, but they've each had some flaws, and they were never really solved before we went into shooting. Then problems arose, compromises had to be made and that's what you get. I really am convinced that the process can work, but we're running out of time to prove it.
THR: You've written, produced, acted -- directing seems the next logical step for you. Is that next on the horizon?
Damon: I feel like I want to write the thing I direct because I might feel too responsible for someone else's material the first time out. I know I'm going to make mistakes because that's what directing is a lot of the time: managing the number of mistakes you're making. ("Grimm" director) Terry Gilliam tells me he goes home at night and thinks about all the things he did wrong. (Steven) Spielberg once said to me, the first time you direct, (you should) do something very simple, and see if you have a knack for telling a story. Because some people get caught up in doing these shots, they don't keep their eye on the ball.
Matt's Double Empire Glory
Hollywood star Matt Damon was a double winner at this year's Empire Awards in London.
He was named Best Actor for The Bourne Supremacy, and the action thriller was also named Best Film.
Twelve-year-old Freddie Highmore pipped Sienna Miller when he was named best newcomer. The schoolboy was nominated for his role in the film Finding Neverland as the little boy who inspired J M Barrie to write Peter Pan.
Sienna, 23, had been nominated for her performance opposite boyfriend Jude Law in the remake of Alfie.
Quentin Tarantino, director of Kill Bill, Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, was named Icon of the Decade at the ceremony in London's Guildhall.
Kate Winslet triumphed over Imelda Staunton and Keira Knightley to the Best British Actress prize for her role in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Paddy Considine won Best British Actor for Dead Man's Shoes, while zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead was named best British film.
Claudia Schiffer's husband Matthew Vaughn won Best British Director for gangster movie Layer Cake. The Empire movie awards are billed as the only ones to be voted for by the public. More than 12,000 Empire Magazine readers cast their votes.
Matt Damon signs Bourne Ultimatum
Talking of Matt Damon and the Bourne movies, he’s signed up for the third, The Bourne Ultimatum.
What I hope that doesn’t mean is that the camera will be even more shaky, even more closed in on the action and even more difficult to follow. See the thing I found about the latter half of the The Bourne Supremacy was exactly that, you found it very hard to follow what was going on, and to be honest the action could have been taking place anywhere.
During the big chase scene you would see the back of a Policeman’s jacket with the word Police flashing back and forth and all over the place, then it would cut to Damon’s face as he bounded along with the camera jiggling some more, back to the Policeman, back to Damon, all close up wobbling shots. It was hard to tell if they were chasing each other and if they were even in the same city! In the car chase scene it was the same, fast cuts back and forth with close ups on the drivers faces, before you knew it the car had crashed. It crossed the NYPD Blue camera school line.
I know lot’s of people liked it, some of my friends loved it, and I’m not against the NYPD Blue school of filming in fact I love that show, it was just way overdone here. Style over substance I’m afraid for me, there was a big failure to think of the audience and how it would look on a big screen.
Looks like more of the same though with Paul Greengrass returning after his Watchmen outing, and that could spell good or bad news for the comic adaptation. A return to familiar ground to recover his career, or just because he wants to write the next one? Also back is the same writer Tony Gilroy, so it will be a good story filming styles aside.
Matt Damon: Stuck On You
While best buddy Ben Affleck has dominated tabloid headlines in recent years, Matt Damon has lived out of the limelight and got on with the day job. Starring roles in The Talented Mr Ripley, Ocean's Eleven, and The Bourne Identity have put the 33-year-old in the eight figure salary bracket, a position sure to be enhanced by upcoming sequels Ocean's Twelve and The Bourne Supremacy. First, though, he plays Greg Kinnear's conjoined twin in Stuck On You.
Did you need a lot of persuasion to do a Farrelly brothers film?
They took me out for dinner and were telling me about how they wanted to make the movie. We were right around the corner from my house in New York so I said, "Come on back to my apartment, and we'll keep talking about it." So we got back to the apartment, we're sitting around having a beer, and Pete Farrelly says to me: "Can I use your bathroom?" About two minutes later, he comes out soaking wet with a towel around his waste and shampoo in his hair. He just walks right up to me, dripping all over the living room, and he goes: "You got any conditioner?" I figured that was the "You had me at hello" moment!
The film is about conjoined twins. Did you ever think the subject matter might be a little too controversial?
I did have one moment when I first heard about this, when I balked and wondered if it was going to cross a line into cruelty. But then, when I met and spoke with them [the Farrellys] about these characters and what they wanted to do with the movie, it was pretty clear that the spirit and tone of the movie would end up being feelgood. You know, it's really about overcoming adversity. Whatever hand you're dealt, you can overcome all kinds of obstacles and thrive.
In order to pull it off, you really were stuck to your co-star Greg Kinnear. What was that like?
That was strange! When I read it it was like: "OK, I'll be harnessed to Greg Kinnear." But the actual reality of that was pretty wild, because that obviously means trips to the bathroom, personal phone calls, and stuff like that. I said to Greg recently that I remember picking out the colour of the drapes he and his wife were talking about for their house, because you couldn't help but be in the conversation. There were no secrets between us for about four months! And of course, all personal hygiene issues are absolutely a matter of common knowledge. Fortunately, Greg is basically a hypochondriac! You know those little bottles of Purel [a disinfectant]? Greg has got those around and he's constantly re-cleaning his hands.
You also got to work with Cher...
Cher had so much class to come and do this. I mean, she really went for it and she was so willing to make fun of herself. I don't know anyone at the level she's at who would do what she does in this film with such enthusiasm. She was really cool.
Matt Damon: Ocean's Eleven
Matt Damon may have won an Oscar for co-writing "Good Will Hunting", but his subsequent movie roles have borne little fruit at the box office. But he's back in "Ocean's Eleven" as Linus Caldwell, the baby of the group with particularly light fingers.
You are a good card player yourself, even competing at the World Series of Poker. How did you get on?
I lasted six and a half hours. I had a bad beat, because I had Kings and this guy, who is the best poker player in the world, beat me with two Aces. But it was great, because I knew I would lose eventually, it was just a good story to leave it with.
All the characters are criminals, but we still root for you. Is that because you rip off Las Vegas?
I think it's going to be satisfying for everybody. Anybody who's ever been has their Vegas story. Even if you lose 20 bucks, you go, "those guys took my money." I think the original tagline for the poster was "In any other town, they'd be the bad guys", but because it's Vegas, it's alright.
Did any of the other guys win big at the tables after-hours?
George lost 25 straight hands of blackjack. He lost 25 hands, got up, and never gambled again!
He's that bad?
I talked him into sitting down and he was like, "I won't win, I never win." I was sitting there thinking the mathematical probability of this is mind-boggling, I can't believe you haven't won yet!
Is it true you all hit the town once filming was over?
That's the good thing about an ensemble movie. We all lived in the same hotel, so we're calling each others' rooms, going out and causing trouble.
Angelina Jolie and Matt Damon to Star in "The Good Shepherd"
will join Matt Damon for the dramatic movie, "The Good Shepherd," to be directed by Robert De Niro. Matt Damon stepped into the lead role when Leonardo DiCaprio had to withdraw from the project.
According to Variety, "The Good Shepherd" tells the story of the CIA through the eyes of an agent whose personal life is destroyed by the job's stress. Damon will play the agent with Jolie co-starring as his wife.
Production is expected to begin in March 2005. De Niro and Jane Rosenthal will produce "The Good Shepherd," with Francis Ford Coppola, Rick Schwartz, and Chris Brigham executive producing.
Angelina Jolie will next be seen in "Mr.and Mrs. Smith" opposite Brad Pitt. Damon has "Syriana" with George Clooney and "The Brothers Grimm" with Heath Ledger due out in 2005.
Matt Damon on "The Bourne Supremacy" and Hanging with George Clooney
After being cast against type, Matt Damon scored a huge hit with the 2002 release of "The Bourne Identity," directed by Doug Liman and based on the best-selling Robert Ludlum novel. "The Bourne Identity" was Universal Pictures' highest grossing domestic release that year, and went on to become the number one DVD/video rental of 2003.
Damon returns to the character of Jason Bourne for the follow-up film, "The Bourne Supremacy." With a different director (Paul Greengrass) behind the camera, "The Bourne Supremacy" is expected to match its predecessor's success, reuniting many members of the original cast for this 2004 sequel.
Stars such as Matt Damon's buddies George Clooney, Ben Affleck, and Kevin Smith turned out for the movie's World Premiere held on July 15, 2004 at the Cinerama Dome and Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood. In fact, so many stars were on hand it was tough to get an interview with Damon that wasn't interrupted by someone famous wishing him good luck with "The Bourne Supremacy." After meeting Magic Johnson's wife and talking about basketball for a few minutes, Matt Damon answered a few of my questions about his latest film:
How did you get in shape for this role?
Boxing was the best way. It worked out the best for me the first time because it changed the way I walked slightly, and that was kind of one of the goals in trying to make the guy believable. So when I found out I was going to do the second one, I started boxing again.
With the bar set so high from the first film, how do you top it with the second?
Just the same way you make any movie, really. Just start with a script that’s good and with a great director and characters that you like, and try and give it your best shot. We all felt the pressure because none of us wanted to make a movie that was a letdown after people really kind of found the first one on their own and enjoyed it. There was more pressure on this than normal.
Does it live up to the first film?
I think it does. I’ve seen the movie and I’m really proud of it. We did everything we could to make this a great movie and I’m really proud of what we did.
Was it a big change working with Paul Greengrass as the director rather than your "Bourne Identity" director, Doug Liman?
Well, I work with different directors on every movie. I mean, obviously they have slightly different styles but they have very similar tastes. Those two creatively are very similar actually.
One of your co-stars called you a cerebral action star...
(Laughing) I guess I’ve got them fooled. The character is very smart and he thinks his way out of situations, which I think makes it fun for the audience. You all get to be in the same situation and he comes up with the way out.
So how does the hoopla associated with this premiere compare to what you just experienced filming "Ocean's 12" in Italy?
This is a little crazier, I think, but Italy was a little wild. I mean, traveling the world with George Clooney and Brad Pitt definitely is an experience.
You’re still doing it, right?
Yeah, well we’re here now…
Bourne again Matt Damon
Matt Damon never forgets how lucky he is to be at the top of his game right now.
"Acting is nearly an impossible career to maintain throughout one's life," the 34-year-old star said during a recent visit to Japan to promote both "The Bourne Supremacy" and "Ocean's Twelve." "There is a lot of ebb and flow in this business and I know that one day it will be over, so part of me never wants to stop."
Damon speaks slowly, sometimes inaudibly, but always politely. "I love my job. It actually doesn't feel like work. Whenever I have free time, I just want to make another movie," he said.
He looks in terrific shape, the legacy of "The Bourne Supremacy," the sequel to the hit 2002 film "The Bourne Identity." This time out, former CIA assassin Bourne (Damon) is framed when an agency operation is botched and he is forced on the run again from both comrades and enemies as more pieces from his past start to fall into place. "The reason I did the sequel was that it dealt with the theme of redemption over revenge, which you don't see in many Hollywood action movies," he said.
Director Paul Greengrass, who comes from a background in documentaries, lets the camera follow the action instead of leading it, so that audiences observe the action rather than feeling it is staged. Filming was done on location in Berlin, Moscow and Goa, India — all of which Damon calls an "incredible fringe benefit of making movies."
To get into shape, Damon trained for six months to get good at boxing and continues with the sport whenever he is in L.A. He runs regularly with his older brother who is a marathon runner. For hand to hand combat, Damon learned a form of martial arts unique to the Philippines and some weapons training. How much of his lethal skills does he retain? "I know enough just to get beat up," he joked.
Damon went straight from "The Bourne Supremacy" to "Ocean's Twelve" without even looking at the script. "Hanging out with those guys was a lot of fun," he said of his "Ocean's" co-stars Brad Pitt and George Clooney.
Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Damon made his debut in "Mystic Pizza" in 1988. He has been a consistent hitter in Hollywood with films such as "Courage Under Fire," "The Rainmaker," "Good Will Hunting," "Saving Private Ryan," "The Talented Mr Ripley," "The Legend of Bagger Vance" and "Ocean's Eleven."
Damon has been kept so busy in film after film that he hasn't had the chance yet to do what he really wants to do — write another movie with best friend Ben Affleck. It was their collaboration in 1997 that led to "Good Will Hunting," which not only won them an Academy Award, but gave both their careers a boost.
"We wrote that just to get work as actors," Damon said. "We want to collaborate again, but it is difficult logistically because we are never in the same place for very long," Damon said.
Nicholson, DiCaprio, Damon in Scorsese film
Jack Nicholson will co-star with Hollywood hunks Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese's upcoming gangster saga "The Departed".
The Oscar winning star of "As Good As It Gets" plays an Irish gang boss in the remake of the hit Hong Kong thriller "Internal Affairs", reported imdb.com.
Oscar winners Damon and DiCaprio play opposing undercover cops in the film, which also stars Mark Wahlberg ("The Italian Job II").
Nicholson was quoted as saying: "I've been looking for a bad guy - I just did three comedies. DiCaprio, Scorsese and I had been looking for something to do together."
Stars Evacuated from London Hotel
Hollywood stars Brad Pitt and Matt Damon were evacuated from an exclusive London hotel Thursday when a fire broke out. Four fire engines rushed to Claridges in Mayfair, where the pair were scheduled to give a press conference in the ballroom, to promote new movie Ocean's Twelve. A London Fire Brigade spokesman says, "Four fire engines were sent to the scene after a call at 11am. They are still there. I believe there was a small fire on the ground floor, probably in the kitchen area." Claridges restaurant is run by flamboyant celebrity chef and holder of three Michelin stars Gordon Ramsay. Damon and Pitt aren't the only famous guests currently at Claridges - Jim Carrey, who is promoting new movie Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events, and Sir Mick Jagger, who is living in a suite at the hotel, were both also seen fleeing the scene.
Success Is 'Bourne' Again at Video Store
Although kids' movies are typically the biggest sellers at the video counters during the holiday season, the thriller The Bourne Supremacy, starring Matt Damon, Brian Cox and Joan Allen, galloped out of the gate with sales of five million copies in its first seven days in release in the U.S. and Canada, Universal Studios Home Entertainment announced Wednesday. The original The Bourne Identity, theatrically released in the summer of 2002, was the most rented movie on DVD and VHS last year.
Damon Begged for Smaller 'Ocean's' Role
Matt Damon begged producers of forthcoming sequel Ocean's Twelve to make sure his role as Linus Caldwell was just as small as it had been in the 2001 original. Damon spent most of this year filming in Europe - he began shooting Ocean's Twelve immediately after he wrapped The Bourne Supremacy. Damon says, "I actually asked for a smaller part this time around. I wanted to do less work because I had just come off The Bourne Supremacy and I was tired." Despite the actor's protests, producers George Clooney, Jerry Weintraub and Steven Soderbergh insisted Caldwell have more screen time. Clooney jokes, "Matt showed up and told us he had this big hit sequel under his belt so we'd need him to sell our picture. We had no choice but to give him a bigger part."
Affleck Takes on Damon After Snobby Blockbusters Comments
Ben Affleck poked fun at Matt Damon on American TV on Saturday night, claiming his friend's comments about stars who only take roles in potential blockbusters were aimed at him. Hosting the season debut of satirical show Saturday Night Live, Affleck launched an into-camera attack on his pal for comments he allegedly made about actors who only take on the big roles. He joked, "Listen bro, we all know who you're talking about. It's been kind of a mainstream year for me; OK, stop rubbing it in. I get halfway through Paycheck, I went to ask the theatre manager for my money back and I remembered I was in it. I know you're not into stardom but help me out here. I can't seem to recall which Chekhov play The Bourne Supremacy is based on. I'm sure they'll be studying Ocean's Twelve in the film classes at USC (University of Southern California), believe me, because Ocean's Eleven left so many unanswered questions." Affleck also poked fun at his ex-fiancee Jennifer Lopez, adding, "You wait 'til you lose your mind and make two movies in a row with your girlfriend." He concluded his joke rant by poking fun at his pal's friendship with George Clooney: "By the way, street cred, how's Clooney's yacht treating you? Is there a phone on that thing? I've been trying to call you for three weeks."
Damon and Jackman Team Up for Lapdance
Screen hunks Matt Damon and Hugh Jackman gave American news veteran Barbara Walters the ultimate thrill on Sunday when they put on a lapdance for her. Walters, who is stepping down from her long-time role of anchor on news magazine show 20/20, attended Jackman's final performance of The Boy From Oz on Broadway, and was stunned when she was pulled from the audience for a little onstage action. She says, "I'm sitting there minding my own business. (During) the second act he comes in and says, 'I usually dance with someone, but today is my last day and there is a lady in the audience and she is celebrating her last days on 20/20.' I thought, 'He's gonna make me dance. I can't get up there.' He says, 'No, you gotta come.' So I go up on the stage. He says, 'Okay sit down,' and then he says, Matt Damon,' are you here?' And Matt Damon hides his face and Jackman beckons him. And I sat while Matt Damon and Hugh Jackman did a lapdance with me!" An elated Walters adds of Jackman, "Whatever he's going to do (in the future), my fantasy was fantastic and he was fantastic!" Jackman did 397 performances as the late Peter Allen in the musical, which was housed at New York City's Imperial Theatre.
Damon Will Only Date "Civilians"
Hollywood hunk Matt Damon has vowed only to date "civilians" in the future, following the media circus surrounding best pal Ben Affleck's ill-fated romance with Jennifer Lopez. Affleck and Lopez were bombarded with fervent attention during their 18 months together, and Damon has decided he'll never date a fellow celebrity again after observing it all. He says of his romances with Winona Ryder and Minnie Driver, "That was early on. These days I definitely only date, as we say, 'civilians'." Damon is currently dating former bartender Luciana Barroso.
Damon and Johansson Join Efforts To Oust Bush
Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson are among a list of celebrities donating their talents to an online effort to oust President George W Bush. Tuesday, independent political group Moveon.Org premieres 10 new anti-Bush advertisements created by award-winning filmmakers including John Sayles, the writer-director of Sunshine State and Eight Men Out, and Doug Liman, who directed Swingers and The Bourne Identity. Sayles teams up with actor Martin Sheen for one ad, while Liman reunites with Damon for another MoveOn spot. When Harry Met Sally director Rob Reiner uses Bush's own words to form the core of his 30-second commercial, which come from an April news conference where Bush struggled to answer whether he'd made mistakes as president. Some of the ads may never get airtime. While MoveOn spokeswoman Laura Dawn says the group has committed to a "sizable" national cable buy for its first ad, the rest may simply remain on the internet as a motivator for MoveOn members. Johansson lends her voice to an animated spot called "Who Profits?," which also features Kevin Bacon and Ed Asner.
Damon the Hero
Oscar-winner Matt Damon turn into a real-life hero when he rescued a woman after she collapsed on a Hollywood path. The Ocean's Eleven star was jogging down a secluded Los Angeles street when he discovered the lady sprawled across the pavement. Damon revived her by sprinkling water from his sports bottle on her face and hands and soon discovered she had become dehydrated and had fainted due to the heat. Helpful Damon waited with the woman until her friend arrived to assist her home and happily posed for photographs and signed autographs.
Damon: J.Lo Almost Ended Ben's Career
Ben Affleck's relationship with Jennifer Lopez was ruining his acting career, according to his best pal Matt Damon. Affleck's career has hit a slump after roles in flop movies Gigli and Jersey Girl. And Damon says Affleck - who split from J.Lo in January - was so in love with the superstar that he neglected everything else. He explains, "Ben knew during the relationship that the worst possible thing for his career would be staying with this woman. He knew what the deal was, but they were really in love, stayed together and they didn't care and took the bullets career-wise. You can literally follow the dude's week from page to page in the magazines and you're not going to then go, 'Yeah, and now I wanna spend $10 on the movie he just made.'"
Matt Damon Predicts 'Bourne 3'
Hollywood hunk Matt Damon will make a third Jason Bourne movie - as long as the script is good enough. The Oscar-winner's second outing as US intelligence misfit Bourne in The Bourne Supremacy hit number one in its opening weekend at the US box office last month and has made over $107 million in the past two weeks. Damon says, "Now that the pressure has gone, I'm very happy with the way the movie came out. But to go and do a third one, we'd really have to have a great script." The star admits, at the moment, he is unsure where the character could go next. Damon continues, "It's hard, because the character, I don't know personally where to go with it. Perhaps there's a rocket scientist that could work it out."
Box Office Is Re-'Bourne'
Surprising box-office analysts, Universal's The Bourne Supremacy, starring Matt Damon, has debuted with $52.5 million, almost twice what the original, The Bourne Identity, took in during its first weekend in 2002. The film trounced the only other film opening wide, Warner Bros.' Catwoman, which had been expected to give Bourne a run for the money. The Halle Berry-starrer, which reportedly cost nearly $100 million to produce, wound up with only $16.7 million, barely more than Sony's Spider-Man 2 took in during its fourth weekend. The Spidey sequel, which sold $15 million in tickets, placed fourth as its gross expanded to $328.5 million. Last week's box-office winner, 20th Century Fox's I, Robot, slipped to second place with $21.7 million, putting it on course to top $100 million by next weekend. Meanwhile, Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 knocked down another barrier for a nonfiction film as it crossed the $100-million mark. After five weeks, its total now stands at $103.1 million.
Matt Damon: I've Never Voted
Shamefaced Matt Damon has confessed he has never voted, even though best pal Ben Affleck is a leading celebrity Democrat. While Affleck makes plans to hit the campaign trail with Democrat presidential hopeful John Kerry, Damon reveals he always felt his vote meant nothing. The actor says, "My reasoning has always been - and this is the worst thing to say - that because I'm from Massachusetts, everyone I would have ever voted for didn't need my vote. That's changing now because of where we're going in this country (America)." Damon insists he'll be the among the first Bostonians registering to vote in November . He adds, "I'll vote for John Kerry. The last election I had this feeling everyone was just going toward the middle and it's the same thing no matter what, and it turned out to be the most politically critical moment in my lifetime."
Matt Damon Finds New Love
Hollywood hunk Matt Damon has turned away from Hollywood women in his pursuit of romance - he's now fallen for interior decorator Luciana Barroso. The Stuck On You star was spotted hugging and kissing his new girlfriend outside Chicago's Peninsula Hotel. An onlooker says, "They were both obviously upset she was leaving, they were hugging and kissing, and when she got into the car, he screamed out, 'Bye baby. Have a good trip.'" Damon, 33, has previously been linked to series of big screen stars including Penelope Cruz, Minnie Driver and Winona Ryder.
Damon Gushes About New Love
Hollywood star Matt Damon has finally opened up about his true feelings for his Stuck On You co-star Eva Mendes. Since meeting during filming of the Farrelly Brothers movie, Damon and Mendes have been discreetly dating - but the Oscar winner has finally gone public about his new love. Damon gushes, "She is awesome. She is so beautiful, she is such a good actress, she is so smart, she's really funny. And she's a normal person too, the world is her oyster basically." Damon will next be seen onscreen in summer sequel The Bourne Supremacy.
Matt Damon and Eva Mendes Officially Together
Stuck On You co-stars Matt Damon and Eva Mendes have made a public demonstration of their love, following months of media speculation. Good Will Hunting star Matt has always sidestepped questions about his close friendship with Mendes, who he met on the set of the Farrelly Brothers comedy while still dating long term love Odessa Whitmire. But onlookers were left in No Doubt about the couple's burgeoning romance when they celebrated the New Year with pals Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez in Las Vegas, Nevada. An insider tells website Page Six, "They were definitely together."
Matt Damon in Love Triangle Mystery
Hunky actor Matt Damon is reportedly caught in a love triangle between long term love Odessa Whitmire and recent co-star Eva Mendes. According to gossip bible Page Six, the Bourne Identity hunk has been enchanted by Latina lovely Mendes on the set of their new film Stuck On You - crediting her with creating an "amazing" working atmosphere. And Damon, who admits the naked scene in Mendes' film Training Day turned his head, gushed to British men's magazine Esquire, "I certainly wouldn't kick her out of bed for eating crackers." Eva, who is in a long term relationship too, is often compared to all-conquering superstar Jennifer Lopez - the fiancee of best pal Ben Affleck.
Affleck and Damon Break-Up?
Rumors are flying that Hollywood best pals Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have fallen out - after both of them were spotted sporting bruises, but refused to explain where they got them from. The Good Will Hunting pair have been friends since childhood, and starred in many movies together, including Kevin Smith flicks Dogma and Chasing Amy. But Affleck, engaged to Jersey Girl co-star Jennifer Lopez, would only answer "Yes," when asked if his shiner hurt him. And sources on the set of Damon's current movie, Stuck On You, tell British tabloid The Sun, "Matt seemed in a lot of pain. He wouldn't say what happened, making it even more intriguing."
Damon Denies Engagement
Hollywood heartthrob Matt Damon insists he isn't engaged to his long-term girlfriend - despite reports he announced it at a charity bash hosted by George Clooney. The Talented Mr Ripley star was alleged to have told pals about his proposal to Ben Affleck's former personal assistant Odessa Whitmire last December, and showed off the diamond ring he bought for her. However, the sexy star scoffs at reports he is planning to wed Whitmore. He says, "At least my family don't call anymore when they hear about it. After the first and second times they were on the phone, but they've kind of eased off now."