By contrast, "It's not flashy," a 36-year-old Matt Damon warns of his latest role, a soft-spoken and stiff-shouldered secret agent in Robert De Niro's "The Good Shepherd." "It won't get any attention in terms of awards or anything like that, but for me personally, for just how complex a role it was and how interesting the subject matter is to me, this was definitely up there."
Up there" despite its on-the-surface simplicity, "up there" despite those three words — ... and he's quiet — that followed so many scene descriptions and so many speeches in Eric Roth's script, three words that don't often describe a Hollywood protagonist, and — Damon is well aware — don't often lead them to golden statuettes.
"[But] Bob said to me very early on, 'This is a different movie,' which is one of the things that made me want to do it."
It is the third consecutive role in which Damon must play, well, adult, following his turns as an energy analyst in "Syriana" and a crooked cop in "The Departed."
It's a career direction, says Damon, that he couldn't be happier with.
"I'm aging just like anyone else," he says, though looking at him, you begin to wonder. "But the roles do get better. I'd say objectively that the best roles out there tend to be for men 35 to 55 years old."
"It's the most important thing," Damon says of family. He then stutters a bit, saying, "It all ... it ... The world just makes sense in a different way."