Damon has played controlled characters like this before, most notably in "The Bourne Supremacy" series and "The Talented Mr. Ripley," but "Shepherd" was much more grueling. Director Robert De Niro had waited nine years to make the film that led to a long shoot of 18-hour days. Damon says De Niro's stance was, "'OK, so this is the last chance we're ever going to have to do this scene.' So, we'd do it over and over and over again. There was one night where we came back to the scene the next day, because he had fallen asleep."
The 36-year-old actor rarely picks a part that doesn't challenge his creativity, and "Shepherd" is no exception. Yet, he has pretty much put his writing career on hold since "Good Will Hunting." So, it was a surprise when he told me, he and his long-time buddy and writing partner, Ben Affleck, are planning on co-directing a movie.
"I know we can do it creatively in terms of us working together, because we have really similar tastes and we have written together successfully and by that I don't mean the result, I mean the process," Damon says. "Its not like we'd be pissing money away because we're bickering over what the shot will be."
When this mystery project will occur is unclear because Damon already has a busy two years ahead of him. He'll be shooting "The Bourne Ultimatum" until at least July (He's semi-joking; it has an August 3 release date and director Paul Greengrass loves to re-shoot) and is scheduled to begin filming "The Informant" with Steven Soderbergh in October. He then plans on shooting another movie with "Bourne" director Greengrass immediately after.
With his work in "Shepherd," and this fall's surprise box office and critical hit "The Departed," Damon is the center of awards buzz again. Does he still pay attention to the insanity of it all?
"It's hard to answer a question because you end up sounding like such a jerk. I always think about people who say, 'Oh, I don't think about awards!' Go [expletive] off," Damon says laughing to himself. But then he admits, "I definitely hope Marty gets an Academy Award [for "The Departed"]. And I'm hoping that Ben gets nominated for "Hollywoodland." I have things to root for this year."