A winning pair
Hollywood superstar Matt Damon hasn't stayed cooped up in his hotel room like other stars, venturing out and making a good friend in poker champion Joe Hachem.
Hachem first met Damon at the world premiere of Ocean's Thirteen at Cannes earlier in the year, where he conducted a poker demonstration as part of the launch for the high-powered cast. He got along with the actor so well they exchanged emails, and Damon made contact when his Melbourne plans were confirmed.
"What I liked about him from the beginning is what you see is what you get, and he respects you whoever you are," Hachem told Confidential yesterday.
After attending the premiere at the Rivoli on Wednesday night, Hachem and his family joined Damon at upmarket restaurant Silks at Crown, before heading to the tables for a couple of hours.
Hachem said Damon "loves" Melbourne, and hopes to bring his family back for a holiday sometime in the near future.
"It was surreal," says Damon of that initial rush, some 10 years on. "People talk about 'overnight success', but I'd been working professionally for 11 years by the time Good Will Hunting hit. Still, the change is nearly indescribable - going from total obscurity to walking down a street in New York and having everybody turn and look; to feel the temperature of a room change when I walked in."
If all Hollywood stars were as down to earth as Matt Damon the world would be a different place. It's refreshing to meet an actor who is as passionately involved in their craft as they are articulate and thoughtful. Clean cut and low key in a black t-shirt and jeans, Damon relates his recent experiences with an infectious energy and intensity.
yM: What are your creative plans for the near future?
MD: Well I have been on the road with my family for over a year now. With these Bourne movies, we go to a lot of places, and we go back and forth, we have probably done 25 countries in the last year, easily. I got a whole slew of scripts a few weeks ago and I said "Hey look honey, these are the movies for the fall" and there was this long pause and she said "Do you like being married?". And I said, "Yeah I do, I do, I like being married". So this fall we are going to be a normal family for a little while.
yM: You seem very down to earth in regards to the excesses of Hollywood, what helps you do that?
MD: I have a team of people that keep me in line. (laughs) A great entourage. A lot of things can be solved by picking a good entourage. No, not really. (laughs) Well we don't live there. We live in Miami which isn't an industry town, and I think that helps a lot. We're kind of off the beaten path. Maybe, I don't know. No one in my family is too impressed with my career so that helps too. No one lets me take myself too seriously.
yM: Was there anything that you feared in the script?
MD: Ah, I never had a script. That's what I feared... I'm just walking around brooding and Paul is fitting me into a story (laughs).