Rock star BONO’s group DATA (Debt Trade AIDS Africa) recently introduced Hollywood A-list actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to development in action during a trip to Tanzania and the Makongoro Clinic in Mwanza. Situated on the shores of mammoth Lake Victoria in north western Tanzania, Mwanza is also known for the many large yet picturesque boulders resting along the shoreline and surrounding hills. During their visit the actors learned how activities supported by the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative and other donors are helping to reduce the prevalence of malaria among pregnant women and children under five (those most vulnerable to malaria). They learned about the different types of malaria, modes of transmission, prevention and treatment, especially via the newly launched Artemisinin- based Combination drug known locally as Alu.
Overall the day was a huge success. Mothers, clinic staff and NGO representatives were happy to share their stories and pass on information. Everyone was impressed with how much the two Hollywood actors cared. They were especially surprised at how simply they dressed and the way they tried to interact with everyone present. Most importantly, Matt and Ben (as they are now known by many in Mwanza) promised to take the messages back home and find more ways to help.
Q: On that subject, when you were last here, we talked about the top guest stars you'd like to have for the show, and you mentioned Ben Affleck. Any progress there? I would think for a show like this, having Jerry Seinfeld on is even better than Ben Affleck.
TF: We'll find out tomorrow...I hope so! Often, we're in the writers room and we say, "We should try to get Affleck to do this!" kind of forgetting that Affleck is a movie star and is busy making movies. But then we heard from somebody that Matt Damon might agree to be on the show. So we might have to ditch Affleck for Damon if Affleck doesn't start answering the phone.
On developing his character
And so a lot of it was actually watching movies of people who played CIA agents and officers and a couple of movies of people who've played alcoholics. The Spy Who Came In From the Cold - which is a merging of the alcoholic and the spy (literally and in the movie!) - and then also The Good Shepherd actually, which is think - just a little shout out to Matt Damon - that's a pretty incredible performance. More about less he does, the more he does. That's the kind of performance I look up to. So I just tried to copy it.[laughter]
When Affleck first bought the rights to Dennis Lehane’s novel, which concerns two Boston detectives investigating a young girl’s kidnapping, Ben and Casey, along with pal Matt Damon and another of their high school friends, Aaron Stockard, collaborated on the first screenplay adaptation.