Matt Damon does what few stars with his kind of billing do: he disappears. A character actor who rates multimillion-dollar paychecks, he has an Oscar, a lucrative blockbuster franchise, a wife you have probably never heard of and a résumé that includes Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Soderbergh. This fall he stars in films from Martin Scorsese (“The Departed”) and Robert De Niro (“The Good Shepherd”), for a reunion by proxy for the two directors. In the first Mr. Damon plays a gangster who goes under cover as a cop; in the second he plays a Yale graduate present at the birth of the C.I.A.
Mr. Damon tends to win respect, not swoons, from film critics, but great directors can’t stay away. His boyish looks have certainly helped him land roles, and remain essential to his appeal even at 35. But it is his ability to recede into a film while also being fully present, a recessed intensity, that distinguishes how he holds the screen. When Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp, two other character actors masquerading as stars, take the screen, they tend to make noise. Their beauty creates its own distractions, and their forays into brooding intensity set off flares. Mr. Damon eases into roles so quietly you rarely see him acting.
MATT DAMON - I had not seen the popular actor in a long time. Matt was with his wife and looking good. Matt has always been an excellent autograph signer and tonight was no exception. He was mobbed by autograph collectors and dealers. He handled it really well and signed up a storm. I would have been shocked had he not been accomodating. He is one of Hollywood’s friendliest stars and deserves a lot of credit.
Not only were all the film's stars in attendance - Bob Hoskins, Adrien Brody, Robin Tunney, Diane Lane and others - but Ben Affleck, who plays Reeves, brought his wife Jennifer Garner, his brother Casey, his pal Matt Damon with his wife, Luciana Barroso.
It was nice to see the best buds - who burst on the Hollywood scene in ‘97 with "Good Will Hunting," grabbed a Best Screenplay Oscar and made headlines by dating two hot actresses Gywneth Paltrow and Winona Ryder - now look like mature, happily married family men. What a difference almost a decade makes.