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Matt Damon News Column
Howard Zinn project, John Cusack
  • Matt will be involved in a new TV project about Howard Zinn, many years after it was first announced. Details from the Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

    Production is finally set to begin on a long-delayed TV version of Howard Zinn's landmark 1980 tome "A People's History of the United States."

    The four-hour documentary miniseries -- titled "The People Speak" -- will include performances by Matt Damon, Marisa Tomei, Viggo Mortensen, Danny Glover, Josh Brolin, David Strathairn, Kerry Washington, Eddie Vedder and John Legend.

    Zinn will host the longform project, which begins shooting next month in Boston. Project, to be exec produced by Zinn, Anthony Arnove and First Tuesday Media's Chris Moore, has not yet been sold to a network. Damon and Moore have been looking to adapt "A People's History of the United States" on television for nearly a decade.

    Damon, who lived next door to Zinn as a child, and Ben Affleck included a reference to Zinn and "A People's History" in their Academy Award-winning "Good Will Hunting." Soon thereafter, the scribes and Moore (also a "Good Will Hunting" producer) sold a 10- to 12-hour miniseries to Fox based on the book.

    The new adaptation will draw from both "A People's History," and sequel tome "Voices of A People's History of the United States," which Zinn wrote with Arnove. Miniseries will center on the actors and musicians as they read from the books or perform music related to their themes: the struggles of women, war, class and race. The longform will mix the performances with photos, interviews and archival footage.

  • Matt did not appear on Monday's Today show, although his appearance had been promoted by the network.

  • A long interview about John Cusack in the Chicago Tribune includes the following comments about Matt, when comparing Cusack's box-office potential to other stars.

    Why? Why does, say, Matt Damon seemingly have his pick of prime material, while Cusack's films tend to play out on the edges? "What [Damon] has that John doesn't have is a sweetness and a warmth," the exec said. "Cusack, I think his anger comes through on screen more, and his sarcasm. Damon is more sincere, and sincerity usually translates to likability."

    Cusack actually can be a very warm actor, as in "Martian Child" and, ultimately, "Grace Is Gone." Even when he's playing a conniving bastard, you detect a caring heart; there's a reason test audiences objected to seeing his crooked double-crosser bumped off in the initial cut of "The Ice Harvest" (2005).

    But his characters tend to be repressing turbulent emotions, and even in person he's guarded. While Clooney and Damon also project intelligence, they come across as open and engaging in person, down-to-earth and unafraid, and the press and public embrace them--people feel that they know them. Cusack, though unfailingly polite once you have his attention, is notoriously press-averse (as opposed to merely press-shy), and he has successfully kept the professional gossipers from delving into his romantic history or whatever else he might not want revealed.

  • The Red Sox World Series DVD which Matt narrated includes brief footage of Matt at Fenway Park with his father in 2004, and (randomly) a Bourne Ultimatum DVD preview following a series of baseball memorabilia advertisements.

  • 'For your consideration' Oscar ads for The Bourne Ultimatum are available at AwardsDaily.
  • 7 comments or Leave a comment
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 12th, 2007 02:42 am (UTC) (Link)

    Yippee! Bought "Bourne Ultimatum" today

    Very happy to have "Bourne Ultimatum" in my DVD player right now. Can't wait to devour all the extras, but am trying to parse them out over a few days. Interesting main menu - they are playing Moby's vocal and music theme "Exteme ways" with some interesting graphics reminiscent of the closings titles of "Bourne Identity". -- Thanks for all the links. Take care, Cheryl
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: December 12th, 2007 07:22 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Yippee! Bought "Bourne Ultimatum" today

    Thanks for the info Cheryl. My copy was only sent from Amazon today (it's not on shelves in Australia til 30 December).
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 12th, 2007 09:52 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Yippee! Bought "Bourne Ultimatum" today

    I'm so happy, the 4 disc DVD box set was delivered yesterday, no chance to watch anything yet, but my sister and I are fighting over the David Webb dog tags. It even includes a certificate with the number on, mine is 00588 out of 10,000, whatever that means. It's beautifully packaged too and includes some of the stuff he used in the movies.

    And I just wanted to say that I think John Cusack is a wonderful actor, I've loved his work since Say Anything. He just gets on and does it. No tabloid nonsense, just a solid intelligent actor with a good body of work. I wish more were like him. Marcia
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 12th, 2007 01:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Yippee! Bought "Bourne Ultimatum" today

    I was up until 1am devouring the DVD set myself. Dog tags? Wow, mine included Bourne's passport.

    The "Man on the Move" bonus was particularly good. I won't spoil anything for you.

    I love to listen to Greengrass' calm and intelligent voice, and particularly liked the director's commentary, hearing the *whys* of different shots.


    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 12th, 2007 02:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Yippee! Bought "Bourne Ultimatum" today

    Lucky you! Thanks to work and family I won't be able to look at any of it until Sunday, but we are going to have a Bourne day and watch the lot, I can't wait. I'm claiming the dog tags though, I have seniority ;-)

    Agree with your comment about Paul Greengrass's voice too. Marcia
    homelessdog From: homelessdog Date: December 12th, 2007 05:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
    A video clip from the Red Sox video, featuring Matt, is available on Amazon's website. http://www.amazon.com/2007-World-Highlights-Colorado-Rockies/dp/B000UUX2QY/

    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 13th, 2007 03:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
    Nice clip!
    7 comments or Leave a comment