Matt says that he was always by Coppola's side during The Rainmaker filming, constantly in his company and learned a great deal. They became, and remain, very close. They rehearsed at his Napa Valley home for three weeks before going to Memphis to film.
Coppola flew Matt to Romania for a cameo in Youth Without Youth (which Coppola finaced himself). Matt says, "anything for Francis". Translated quote: In "Youth Without Youth" Coppola paid me in wine (laughs).
When Matt first met Coppola and spoke about the role for The Rainmaker Coppola gave him a cigar - his own brand named "Carmine" for his father, Carmine Coppola.
Francis Ford Coppola:
"We found a new actor to play the main character Rudy Baylor, that was Matt Damon. Who was a very charming, honest and intelligent young man and it was a total pleasure to work with him from day one to the very end of the experience."
"Matt was, I though, at the time just so perfect for the part. He’s so wholesomely attractive and sincere. In truth, he’s a little bit like that – he’s very intelligent. But I think he’s quite sincere and it has been my pleasure in my career… You feel so proud of these actors and actresses who go one to become big stars and do so many wonderful performances. In Matt’s case he had also written his own project and won all those Oscars. It was great to see him rewarded in that way. Matt Damon was such a pleasure."
Danny De Vito on Claire Danes and Matt
"These two were a lot of fun to hang out with. Come down to the trailer, cook, eat, weekend look for some place to go. I was the most noticeable in town so they had to disguise me up to take me to some blues club, put on a jacket and a wig."
"We had a lot of fun, we would go out a lot. They were young, really young kids who wanted to go out all the time. I’d go out and have a couple of drinks with them. It was a good family cast, and anybody who wanted to participate could. I like movies like that."