2007'S MOST POPULAR: MATT DAMON
Before 2002's The Bourne Identity, there wasn't much on Matt Damon's résumé to indicate that he'd make a convincing action hero, let alone the most badass killing machine of the new millennium. But here we are, three movies — and $525 million — into the Jason Bourne saga, each film arguably better than its predecessor, and Damon continues to surprise us. And himself.
"I agree I'm not, as you say, the most likely badass killing machine. But I love this guy. And to be honest, these movies have changed my life." They've also changed what we expect from summer movies. Instead of being big, loud, and dumb, they can be precise, hushed, and smart as hell. But they wouldn't work without a leading man who could convey all of these things…often without words. Damon says more with his haunted and hunted face in Ultimatum than most actors could with a dozen monologues. That's why he's not only the thinking man's action hero but also the best thing to happen to summer since Kool-Aid. — Chris Nashawaty
Matt Damon's 2007
Feb. 25 - The Departed wins Best Picture Academy Award.
May 24 - Damon and Ocean's Thirteen pals raise $9 million for Darfur charities.
June 10 - Ocean's Thirteen opens to $36.1 million.
July - Filming of The Bourne Ultimatum enters its ninth month; Damon gets star on Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Aug. 5 - Biggest Bourne — Ultimatum bows to $69.3 million; Ocean's Thirteen cast nominated for Teen Choice award!
Nov. 26 - Named PEOPLE magazine's Sexiest Man Alive.
Dec. 14 - Cameos in Youth Without Youth, the latest from his Rainmaker director, Francis Ford Coppola.
As if being People magazine's sexiest man wasn't enough, now Matt Damon has been chosen by Entertainment Weekly's editors as the "most popular" on the mag's annual Entertainers of the Year list that was released yesterday. ("Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling topped the list.) The Oscar-winning Cantabrigian's work as Jason Bourne in "The Bourne Identity" and its two sequels makes him "the thinking man's action hero," something that surprises even Damon. "I agree I'm not, as you say, the most likely badass killing machine," Damon told EW. "But I love this guy. And to be honest, these movies have changed my life." . . . While the hardworking Damon had been globetrotting in support of "The Bourne Ultimatum," which was released earlier this year, he won't be mentioning that during his appearance on Jay Leno's show next week. Because of the writers' strike, Leno's folks have dug deep into the rerun vault and will be airing a bit from a visit Damon made to Leno's show in 2000.