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USA Today interview
  • There's a lengthy personal interview with Matt at USA Today, including these excerpts below. A larger photo is also available at the website:

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  • Matt Damon's year of goodwill

    Back in June, as Matt Damon held his 2-week-old daughter, Isabella, he contemplated the vagaries of fate.

    One day, you're celebrating the birth of your first child in Miami, only to learn that 1,300 miles north, your East Village apartment had been flooded by a malfunctioning sprinkler. Nothing survived the deluge.

    "I got the phone call that literally everything you own in the world is gone," recalls Damon, 36, with a rueful smile. "Had it happened six months earlier, I would have been a mess. But I was sitting there with Isabella in my arms, and I didn't miss a step. I don't need anything else in the world."

    "He really is the everyman," Jolie says. "Some guys are Hollywood versions of the everyman, but he really is. People can sense that. We watch him and believe him. He's such a real person."

    Their relationship, says Steven Soderbergh, who directed Damon in all three Ocean's capers, "seems like a really good thing all around. He met someone he really cares about. He just follows his emotion and his feelings. He seems like one of the least neurotic actors I've ever seen, that's for sure. He has great equilibrium."

    Just before Isabella's birth, Damon felt the rare intrusion of the media.

    "People were outside our house, and that was a drag, particularly since it was something that personal," he says. "I drove us to the hospital when she was in labor, and this guy was following us. That's as close as I've come to jumping out of the car. You're having this intimate, personal experience, it's a medical situation, it's scary. Literally, thinking back on that experience makes my hair stand up."

    Says Soderbergh: "Anybody who has worked with him respects him and knows he's a terrific actor. He's going to put together a pretty significant body of work. He's going to just get better as he gets older."

    Damon's most exhausting shoot to date: playing the emotionless, tightly wound CIA operative in Shepherd, a film De Niro had dreamed of directing for years.

    "It was a hard movie. (De Niro) had been thinking about it for years. You'd do take after take after take. His attention to detail is unbelievable. His drive to do this movie was intense. Every day was 16 or 18 hours. No exaggeration."

  • USA Today also has some questions and answers with Matt, including one asked by reader Maureen!

    Q: You've stated many times that you choose the director primarily and that you believe yourself to be the "arrow in the quiver" of that director, regardless whether you agree with him or not. Tell me, is there anything that you would refuse to do on moral or ethical grounds? Maureen, New Brunswick, Canada

    A: The thing that would keep me from a movie most would be gratuitous violence. Certain movies have such an obsession with body count that it's desensitizing. That's probably a non-starter. I've been asked to do the Bourne videogame a bunch of times. I assume it's a first-person shooter so I just won't do it. They're not allowed to use my face. I wouldn't feel right about doing that.
  • 23 comments or Leave a comment
    Comments
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 14th, 2006 12:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
    Beautiful interview. Words can't describe how honoured I feel that he answered my question. I always wondered why there wasn't a Bourne game despite rumours of it always being in the works - I applaud Matt's ethics.

    Bravo, Matt! and many thanks to Felicity for always providing information and links for us to know Matt in a non-invasive manner.

    ~Maureen~
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 14th, 2006 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
    I was sorry to read about his apartment being flooded. I'd be gutted if it happened to us. Not the material loss, insurance can replace those, but the loss of items with a sentimental value, and my books (I've been banned from buying anymore till I've read the one's in my unread pile, it's about 3ft tall at the moment). At least they had Isabella to take their mind of things and it could have been so much worse. I love his new openness, he always seemed so buttoned up before never giving anything away about his relationships or life away from his work. Anyway, as has been said to you ad infinitum great work. MP
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: December 14th, 2006 02:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
    The Golden Globes nominations turned into my worst nightmare:

    Leo - two nominations in the Best Actor category, including The Departed

    Mark Wahlberg and Jack Nicholson - nominations in the Supporting Actor category for The Departed

    Matt - only leading actor in the film who gets nothing (Good Shepherd also seems to have received no nominations)

    The Departed was nominated for Best Dramatic Picture

    And Ben got a Supporting Actor nomination
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 14th, 2006 02:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Mark Wahlberg? They must be joking. Nicholson was over the top and Leo, well, he's Leo. Enough said.

    Incredible. Astounding. I'm starting to believe that awards have nothing to do with acting ability.

    I'm very disappointed.

    ~Maureen~
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 14th, 2006 04:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
    Me again! You're probably sick of hearing from me by now but here's my view. From my vast distance from Hollywood and the acting world, I don't think the best people or films ever win. Decisions seem to be made on who and what is popular at the time, and whatever politics are going on in Hollywood. I think of these ceremonies as a marketing tool that can be bought and sold like any other product. I knew Matt wouldn't be nominated so I'm not disappointed. It doesn't lessen for me the amazing work he's done in the Departed and the Good Shepherd and without having seen any of it yet but based on what I've read I think the Good Shepherd has the potential to become a classic. MP
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 14th, 2006 06:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Golden Globes

    I was also completely upset that Matt was ignored for the Globes, however, we have to keep in mind that The Good Shepherd hasn't actually opened yet so it probably wasn't eligible for the Globes.

    I was, though, shocked to see DiCaprio nominated for Blood Diamond after some disappointing reviews. What exactly is that accent he's attempting? He was brilliant in The Departed, yes, but soooooo was Matt!!!

    Sam (first time poster here)
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: December 14th, 2006 07:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Golden Globes

    The Good Shepherd was eligible.

    Welcome!
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 14th, 2006 08:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
    I guess I'm going to be the lone voice on this, but I think all of the above nominees that you listed deserve their nominations. Leonardo DiCaprio is an excellent actor. Mark Wahlberg and Jack Nicolson as well as Leo were outstanding in The Departed. The Departed was one of the best films released this year. And I was very pleasantly surprised with Ben Affleck's acting in Hollywoodland. None of this is to take anything away from Matt in The Departed. He was very good along with Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Ray Winstone and Vera Farmiga. There is no one on the nominations list that I would vote to remove and replace with Matt. I haven't seen The Good Shepherd so I cannot comment on it.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: December 14th, 2006 09:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
    I'm mostly disappointed about Wahlberg's nomination (the Globes nominated Matt for Lead not Supporting so he didn't take Matt's nod).

    Wahlberg's got a nomination for swearing and showboating. His character was so dumb and inconconsequential they had to repeat his dialogue twice.
    And I certainly didn't care the first time.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: December 15th, 2006 02:26 am (UTC) (Link)
    And after I criticised Wahlberg, he's the only actor who mentioned Matt in his comments to the press:

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003521953

    Mark Wahlberg was sleeping comfortably in New York when his agent called. "He said, 'I think you got nominated.' And I said, Well, if I did get nominated, call me back. If not, don't call me at all. He is slowly trying to become Ari from 'Entourage.' " Wahlberg called the nomination a "wonderful surprise." "I had never been nominated before, so I certainly wouldn't expect it. But I never got to play a part quite like this, either," he said. And just as he was surprised at his own nom, his eyebrows were equally raised that co-star Matt Damon didn't receive one. "I think Matt did a great job," he said. "I don't think Matt is all too disappointed. He certainly has a lot to be proud of and be happy about."
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 14th, 2006 08:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
    The whole golden globe nominations were ridiculous. i can not believe that mark wahlberg and jack were nominated and matt was not. all mark did was swear and crack jokes the whole movie. All of the acting was terrific but matt always gets screwed in my opinion. and leo with 2 nominations? it seems like every time he does a movie he is guaranteed a nomination. ugh sorry i am complaining so much. and if the good shepherd was eligible i am surprised there wasn't one nomination. oh well i think all these award shows are fixed.
    Thanks for all the updates- Jess
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 14th, 2006 08:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
    Hey, I'm new here too.

    I was disappointed with the nominations as well. I think that with the supporting actor category there would have been too many from the same movie against each other, so they wanted to avoid that. I haven't seen the departed yet so I'm not sure about the others performances. I think if anything, it's Jack, so he's going to be nominated and with Mark, well I don't know.

    Like someone said, I assumed since the Good Shepard hasn't been released yet it wasn't eligible, but you said it was? I thought the movies had to be out in November for the Globes to consider them. That sucks.

    -Jen
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: December 14th, 2006 08:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
    Hi Jen.

    You don't make a $90 million Oscar-bait movie and not screen it for Golden Globes voters.

    It was snubbed, which is probably not surprising. It's a long movie that's not going to appeal to their membership.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 14th, 2006 08:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
    I do not understand why you say that The Good Shepherd would not have any appeal to the HFPA. The CIA should be of interest around the world. Can you explain more why you say that? What type of movies do appeal to the HFPA?
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: December 14th, 2006 09:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
    The quality of the Golden Globes nominations is always suspect, because the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (voting members) are known as a bunch of freeloaders who care more about buffet lunches and star encounters than a decent movie or real performances. Becoming a voting member is very political and their decisions are often not based on merit.

    I agree that it's a very political decision, that Scorsese and Warner Bros weren't pushing Matt (I don't think he's had a solo For Your Consideration ad for Departed, and Wahlberg's had a few). Scorsese always pushed Leo in every interview, and never discussed Matt or his performance (OK, he did so twice - in the press notes and EPK, but that's it).

    Matt hasn't schmoozed and done the awards-friendly lunches with the voters which may garner support, and Shepherd was released too late to create any positive impact. Most of the voters wouldn't have seen the lengthy movie in the short time they had prior to voting, and they probably dismissed it on advance word of mouth anyway.

    The Blood Diamond has bombed, but the nominations went in before it was officially released but Leo was out and about promoting it at the time.

    The Best Actor nominees were essentially decided upon six months ago because of advance talk - not the actual performances. That's my guess.

    Matt's best shot will be at the SAG awards (actor-voted). Universal's trying their best with all of the quality TV shows and promotion expected for the next couple of weeks, but that's probably too late.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: December 14th, 2006 09:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
    Also,

    1. Matt's not from LA and hasn't been visible in the US (ie hasn't been out promoting films) until the last week - too late for GG.

    2. Matt said he wasn't interested in awards. Wonder if that had any impact?

    3. Leo's voter friendly and pedigreed (and loved by Scorsese/De Niro), and gave supposedly a strong performance in Departed and Blood Diamond. He's got a reputation as a good/great/beloved actor and Matt still doesn't seem to have that.

    4. Matt's consistently good in films but doesn't get nominated. He doesn't have a surprise factor (unlike Ben in HWL, where people were surprised that he was actually OK).
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 14th, 2006 10:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
    It sounds to me like it should be no surprise that Matt was not nominated. The right things are not being done by him and others for him to get a nomination. I'll bet Ben has been schmoozing anyone and everyone.
    From: sunnysanstar Date: December 16th, 2006 05:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
    Ben was nominated because he put in a great performance. Matt wasn't nominated because...well I don't know why cause he should have! But you know, when Ben gets nominated, I feel like it's a nomination for Matt as well because they support each other so much and have no doubt done alot to make each other better actors.

    P.S. Felicity, love your comments on Wahlberg's nom. Seriously, the guy did nothing for The Departed. If anyone should have gotten the nom Wahlberg did, it should have been Baldwin.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 14th, 2006 08:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Hollywood Choices

    Because Hollywood is even more political than Washington, no one should be surprised by the Globes nominations. Matt is an excellent actor, but he wasn't being pushed by Scorcese, and DeNiro doesn't have studio cache as a director.It's nice when talent and performance coincide with political machinations, but it's often not so. Certainly not a surprise with the Globes which are voted on by just a few foreign (to the U.S.) Hollywood journalists. They have a different perspective, and as everyone knows, they tend to go for big names who are socially prominent and have played up to them and a few must-have, big-buzz performances like Forest Whitaker. Matt is really the cream of the crop, but he needs to get out more in the Hollywood scene until he wins an acting Oscar, then he can return to being "everyman", but he'd never get his privacy back. It's a tradeoff. Maybe they'll love him for the Oscars if TGS opens big and has legs. I wish him the best.

    Island Boy
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 14th, 2006 11:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
    i dont know if anyone saw this but here is a clip of matthew mcconauhey watching the clip of matts impression, he loved it!

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=RqWbxDlMo9Q
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: December 14th, 2006 11:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
    Thanks, I've already posted it in the comments section of a previous post.
    From: _peachtrees_ Date: December 15th, 2006 06:39 am (UTC) (Link)

    new Ocean's 13 pic

    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: December 15th, 2006 08:25 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: new Ocean's 13 pic

    Thanks, it's been up for a while, and is also in the Premiere 2007 preview, which I'll post soon.
    23 comments or Leave a comment