Hollywood actor Matt Damon says he went with police to raid a crack house while preparing to play a Boston cop in the new crime drama, "The Departed."
However, Damon said fans shouldn't think he did anything heroic during the outing.
"I'm sure I was in no real danger. They brought twice as many cops as they do on those raids and I was in the back of the line with my bullet-proof vest on ... and I didn't go in until they cleared the house, but I got to see them do it," he told reporters in New York.
"Did you ever see 'The Hard Way,' with Michael J. Fox?" Damon joked, referring to a 1991 comedy, in which Fox played an actor shadowing a real-life officer to prepare for a movie role. "That was me. 'Hey guys, do I get a gun?' They were like: 'Absolutely not! Shut up!'"
Because the real-life Boston native didn't have to spend time learning a Boston accent like his co-stars, Damon said he concentrated on talking to actual cops, so he could make his character seem authentic.
The football comedy, set up at Universal, may also feature Matt Damon as Clooney's protégé. Still to be cast is the beautiful young thing torn between them.
"There's nothing more annoying than watching some self-righteous celebrity tell you how you should live your life," Damon recently told Maclean's. "Unfortunately, more people will show up to hear me talk about Africa than they will to hear Jeffrey Sachs. I think that's crazy. But it's the world we're living in."
This summer, Joelle Berdugo Adler, president of jeans outfit Diesel Canada and the founder of One X One, approached Damon about hosting the gala. The actor agreed. "It's a chance, quite candidly, to raise so much money that I have to make myself available," says Damon. What drives him to pepper his busy shooting schedule with such work? Damon recalls a quote from Gandhi his mother placed on the refrigerator when he was a child. "No matter how insignificant what you do may seem," it said, "it's most important that you do it."
Adler hammered out the gala details with Damon just three weeks ago: "The first impression you get is exactly what you see -- this really genuine, beautiful, caring human being with a big smile." She plans to announce a One X One donation to Damon's clean water initiative at the event. Running the Sahara, it's hoped, will premiere at next year's One X One benefit. The irony here is that Damon, the A-list actor, is leveraging his celebrity to bring aid to people to whom his name and face may mean little. Indeed, in Africa, he says, "they don't know who I am."