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Matt Damon News Column
Bourne Ultimatum opens, EW interview
  • The Bourne Ultimatum opens today in the US and Canada. It is one of the best reviewed wide releases of the year, with overall ratings of 84/100 at Metacritic, and 93% positive at Rotten Tomatoes, including 96% cream of the crop (top critics), at the time of writing. This includes perfect scores of 100 from the Village Voice, USA Today, Empire, Slate and the New York Times.

  • Matt's on the cover of the new issue of Entertainment Weekly - the article is online here - excerpts:

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    There are so many locations in the film: Madrid, Morocco, London, Paris, New York...it must have been exhausting. I mean, you look tan and rested now, but in the movie you look like crap.
    Yeah, well, that was two things. One, it was harder work than I've ever done because it was so unrewarding. There's a buzz you get when it's working, and we didn't really have that.

    It sounds like the exact opposite of making an Ocean's movie.
    Exactly. That's just fun. There were days of fun on Bourne, but a lot of it was gallows humor.

    Was it that vague when you signed on to do it?
    I did the whole movie that way. In any given scene I didn't know where I'd just come from or where I was going. Which, as an actor, you kind of need! And Paul's only direction was "Butch-er and more intense!" Finally I was like, "If you give me the f---ing 'butch-er and more intense' note one more time, I'm gonna kick your ass!" It's incredible that we've been able to pull the rabbit out of the hat three times.

    Generally, I get the feeling that people think you're a good guy like Tom Hanks.
    I don't know why people say that, Hanks is a f---ing d--- [laughs]. I don't hold myself to some higher standard of behavior. You don't have to do a lot to be seen as nice. I guess some of these people must be such rampant pricks that people are amazed when you say hello. I don't know why people like me, and I don't know if I want to know. That might be the kiss of death. I'd rather people not know a lot about me and go see the movies.

    Was it strange for you guys to be in Hawaii together this summer with your wives and kids? Was there ever a moment where you just laughed and said, Jesus, look at us?
    Yeah, seeing the kids playing together, that was a trip.

  • Video of the Today Show appearance is here, with a commentary by a producer here, including:

    We interviewed Matt Damon today. He was charming and entertaining, but to be honest, expectations for this one were low. Damon has a reputation for being a "bad" celebrity interview. He doesn’t bring the requisite couch-jumping, finger-pointing, boiling-over-insanity that makes for good TV...

    Damon, in his classy reticence, is onto something. Being a "bad" celebrity interview might reflect good judgment.

  • Video of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart interview is here. Photos of Matt outside the studio before the show (below) are at PopSugar. PopSugar also has more photos from outside the Letterman studios yesterday.

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  • From an interview at UGO:

    On spending time with the Ocean's cast:
    "Well, you know, it's different. I have a different relationship with each of those guys. To us, it feels less like a boys club. We're all friends and we see each other in quiet times away from all the insanity. And we all care about each other, but yeah, I mean they're different. I have a much different relationship with Don [Cheadle] than I have with Brad [Pitt] or with George [Clooney], you know. I think if there's a perception of what things are, it's never quite like that. An outside perception of any friendship is never gonna quite capture what that friendship is, I guess.

  • Matt talked about his extended family and speaking Spanish at home in this interview:

    Matt: "I don’t think [the extra weight] hurt the performance. In fact, Paul said, ‘What’s great about you having a newborn while we’re shooting is that you’re never sleeping. That’s really good for the character (laughter). The existential pain the guy’s in—that’s right where you are. It’s perfect.’"

    Matt was clearly loving the Argentinean touch in his life. He offered this anecdote: "It was clear to me that things were different in her family around the World Cup last year (laughter). Her 80-year-old grandmother came up from Argentina. Her brother came from Spain. As we watched the games, I realized that I had never seen an 80-year old woman pointing at a television screen and saying something unmentionable (laughter) every time some other country had the ball. That was when I became aware that I had married into a different type of family."

  • Video of Matt answering questions from People readers is at People online (text to follow in the magazine). It includes his response to Jon Bon Jovi saying Matt and Ben should play Jon and Richie Sambora in a biopic.

  • Matt and Paul Greengrass are featured in a Time magazine interview, including:

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    "You need to be butch! Butcher and more intense." That's darned good advice for an NFL lineman, a carjacker ... or an action-movie star forced to start filming while awaiting pivotal script pages. It was Paul Greengrass's direction for Matt Damon when they commenced shooting this summer's globe-galloping thriller The Bourne Ultimatum without a finished screenplay.

    "I didn't know where I had come from. I didn't know where I was going--which are things you really need to know as an actor," says Damon, who reprises his role as conflicted assassin Jason Bourne for the third movie in the series.

    Luckily, Damon and Greengrass share a shorthand from collaborating on the second Bourne film, as well as certain personality traits unusual in their trade, like flexibility and a lack of ego. And in a Hollywood besotted with robots and wizards, this actor-director team shares something rarer still: Damon and Greengrass are virtuosos of realism.

  • A good interview from Barry Koltnow at the OC Register, and continued at his blog.

    Lunch at the legendary Polo Lounge in Beverly Hills has to end precisely at 1 p.m. because Matt Damon has a date.

    His 13-month-old daughter Isabella is asleep in an upstairs hotel suite, and she is expected to wake at that time. Although Damon's wife, Luciana, is with her, of course, Damon doesn't want to miss a single event in his little girl's life, including when she wakes up from a nap.

    Paul Greengrass, the British filmmaker who was nominated for an Oscar for directing the 9/11 drama "United 93" and who helmed the second and third "Bourne" films, called Liman's decision a bit of "genius casting."

    "Matt is not only one of the hardest working people I've ever met," said [Greengrass], "but he has phenomenal range as an actor, which is evidenced by this rich vein of roles he's gotten to play in recent years that include both mainstream blockbusters and cerebral dramas.

    "In order to play both aspects of the character, you need an actor with conviction and precision. He must be a fantastic physical actor who can run, jump, fight and drive while conveying the inner demons that torture him. There aren't many actors around who can do that, but Matt is one of them."

    [Koltnow]: Anyway, Matt was telling me that he and director Paul Greengrass were discussing the merits of their new film in the language of "The Godfather."

    "We both felt that the first Bourne movie was Vito (pictured above, second from left). The second movie was Michael (far left). We both hoped that what we just made was Sonny (third from left). We prayed that we hadn’t made Fredo (far right)."

    Don’t worry, Matt. You didn’t make a Fredo.

  • Shorts: Dan Bradley on the movie's stunts; USA Today on Bourne v Bond, including comments by Ed Burns, James Wan and director Michael Davis; an Idaho Statesman in-depth Q&A; and a detailed interview with Greengrass at Chud. Matt is expected to be interviewed on LA radio station KROQ on Friday morning (thanks Laura).
  • 18 comments or Leave a comment
    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 3rd, 2007 11:02 am (UTC) (Link)
    Fist of all Felicity you are an absolute star! Every day I come in to work and look at wonderful pictures. Then I get home at night and get to watch lots of little videos. Thank you thank you thank you.

    Matt is looking great at the moment - particualary in the pictures of him arriving at the Lettermann show. I love the greying hair too - he now looks like a man.

    I am amazed at the way he dealt with the paparazzi cameramen from TMZ - getting them away from his family and being really patient and nice to them. Was slightly disappointed in the Lettermann interview - he has been on such a lot in the last couple of years or so I think Lettermann is running out of things. Much more enjoyable was Jay Leno.

    Lucky people in the U.S. today - I have to wait a couple of weeks - unless I win tickets for the premiere in London.

    Felicity will you go to the Sidney premiere?

    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 3rd, 2007 11:30 am (UTC) (Link)
    Thanks Jan - I'm loving all the news but it's coming to an end. I was surprised by the mundane nature of the Jon Stewart interview as I thought it would divert from the normal questions, but nope.

    Please, please let this movie do well this weekend...

    No, I won't go to the Sydney premiere. Not my scene and I'll watch the news from afar.
    dissention_1 From: dissention_1 Date: August 3rd, 2007 04:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
    I can't tell you how much I enjoy these posts popping up on my friends list. They always brighten my day. :)

    Can't wait for my issue of EW to come in the mail!
    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 3rd, 2007 04:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

    comment about Tom Hanks

    not impressed with the comment about Tom Hanks, rather out of character for him and unprofessional!
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 3rd, 2007 08:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: comment about Tom Hanks

    It's an obvious joke. Matt and Tom Hanks have often been compared and Matt has said similar things before - they've worked together before and are friendly.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 3rd, 2007 05:30 pm (UTC) (Link)


    I think the comment about Hanks was part of a funny setup in which Matt participated willingly. It seems clear Matt had another appointment and was in a rush to leave Letterman. The really surprising thing about that interview was no mention of the Red Sox!

    The Today Show interview had MD sitting on a stool waving at the camera several times before the actual interview began while they went from segment to segment leading to his. Matt's face got grimmer as time went on, and the last wave before his segment was half-hearted and without a smile, like "What the hell am I, a bobblehead doll?!?" He was apparently exhausted.

    I thought the Daily Show interview was sharp and funny. MD and JS could have spiraled out of control politically: they seem to see things in much the same way. Better to keep it light and sell the movie to as wide and diverse a group as possible. They avoided the marketing mistake made with The Good Shepherd. People love Matt; best to leave the political bombast for other times when not promoting a film. TBU makes its own statement.

    I saw an interview yesterday with all the cast members (unusual because Strathairn was part of it and vocal) done by Kristin Holt of G4TV, a technology channel generally devoted to electronic games and consumer tech for the younger crowd. It was broadcast on G4's show, "The Attack of the Show" which has a wide audience of kids and young adults who are a natural demographic for "Transformers", "King Kong", the Wolverine gang, etc. They love the Bourne movies. The questions were very much the same as in virtually every other interview, but I want to share the funniest moment when the interviewer asked a confused question. She went on for awhile talking about how in shape Matt was and how trained in martial arts he was and then asked "Could you take yourself down if you met yourself in an alley?" Matt puzzled for a moment and then said with a little smile, "I think I could get arrested for that." I'm sure the members of Gamers Without Girlfriends (no, there is no such organization) knew just what he was alluding to!

    Here's hoping for a giant opening! Go Matt!

    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 3rd, 2007 06:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
    Hola Feli queria contarte que te mande por mail la pagina de la revista de Caras de Matt Damon me gustaria que la publicaras cuando te llegue, besos..
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 3rd, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
    Thanks Lorena, I've got the scan now. Will post it soon.

    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 3rd, 2007 09:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Jimmy Kimmel bit

    Hi Felicity,
    Great job on the site. The following is a link to a sketch aired 2-Aug on The Jimmy Kimmel show, featuring TBU. I found it very funny.


    thanks for all your hard work!
    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 4th, 2007 04:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Jimmy Kimmel bit

    That is hysterical! Guillermo and Matt Damon...loved them both! Thanks for the link, I didn't know the video was around.

    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 4th, 2007 12:03 am (UTC) (Link)

    Big thanks to felicity and I just saw the TBU movie!

    Scurried out of work to see TBU this afternoon. (By the way, no spoilers are given here.) My biggest accolade is that I bought another ticket so that I can see it again tomorrow. And maybe I'll see it again on Sunday - it was that good - and so much happened so fast that I know I missed stuff. Matt Damon is so good in this movie. Think I'd have a hard time caring about this ultra-violent character unless I could see those other emotions that Matt lets us see, and hear in his voice. Another thing that I loved was that I could not predict what was going to happen next. Loved the smart, strong women characters. Loved watching how damn smart Jason is. Loved the scene where we learn how -- Oops, I was going to discuss a scene that was SO INTERESTING but had to erase even what it was about 'cause it would have been a spoiler. Will have to wait until most of us have seen it. While some critics complained about the parallels in the plot from previous movies, I loved it, because while there were similarities, again, you couldn't predict what was going to happen this time. -- Okay, for all the great stuff, now some very minor nits. I understand that dynamic that the "shaky cam" brings, but less would have been better, especially in the confusing fight scenes. Loved how messy these fights are. I must admit, I could have done with less chases (though they were excellently done) and wanted the movie to spend more time with Jason, though I guess I had to agree with Paul Greengrass that there really isn't too much there because Jason is still uncertain about himself.
    One last thing, I love how Matt and Paul Greengrass have gone from an adamant position that "This is the last Bourne" to saying, "Well maybe if they have a great script..." Will keep my fingers crossed.
    -- Felicity - a thousand thanks for the marvelous job you've been doing on this site. THANK YOU!! Take care, Cheryl
    (Deleted comment)
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 4th, 2007 02:15 am (UTC) (Link)
    That's all fabulous, but how full were the screenings? And was word of mouth good after the film?

    Great to know you both liked the film.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 4th, 2007 03:33 am (UTC) (Link)
    The Bourne Ultimatum is beyond amazing! just wow. I think they have managed to top the first two movies which i didn't think was possible. Matt was just freaking great, the action scenes were really intense, and the whole audience just loved it. Everything that makes the bourne movies so great is still there. It was packed at the theatre that i went to. The ending was just perfect, i don't think they could have thought of a better one and the audience clapped at the end. I think this movie is going to do really well.

    Thanks for your hard work and by the way the entertainment weekly cover is gorgeous.


    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 4th, 2007 05:24 am (UTC) (Link)
    Thanks for the reports - sounding good.

    Agreed that the EW cover and photo are great.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 4th, 2007 06:54 am (UTC) (Link)

    Estimated $72 million opening weekend

    OK, I can relax now. Friday tracking estimates put the weekend take at approximately $25.5 million, for a likely $72 million weekend.


    The Bourne Ultimatum (Universal) is already a critical favorite with an amazing 92% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes and an 83% Positive score at MetaCritic, but now it is a huge popular success as well. It’s not a surprise to see Ultimatum at the top of the weekend box office heap, but it has far exceeded most expectations. Ultimatum grabbed $25.5M on Friday, which should translate to a staggering $72M opening weekend. That’s easily the best opening in the franchise topping The Bourne Identity’s $27.1M and The Bourne Supremacy’s $52.5M.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 4th, 2007 09:02 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Estimated $72 million opening weekend

    I'm so pleased with the reviews! Matt was leary of doing a second film let alone a trilogy.

    Can't wait to see it myself!
    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 4th, 2007 09:03 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Estimated $72 million opening weekend

    So excited with all the pics and vids - forgot to sign the above!

    jjthomas10 From: jjthomas10 Date: August 5th, 2007 03:01 am (UTC) (Link)
    I just wish that Ultimatum could have been released all over the world on the same day, but the release schedule is much better for this one than for the first 2. Remember when it took several months for Japan to get Supremacy? I guess it goes without saying that this is my favorite movie of the year; a fitting end to the trilogy. Yep, I don't want another one done 'cause I just can't believe that they, even Matt and Greengrass, can improve on such an outstanding series.

    Over on imdb.com the anti-"shakey-cam"-ers are out in force, but I really think they're outnumbered this time. And like the poster above, there's lots of repeat viewers.

    18 comments or Leave a comment