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Matt Damon News Column
Matt and Heath
  • Matt's good friend and Brother's Grimm co-star Heath Ledger died yesterday in New York. Matt and Heath became friends on the set of the long and troubled shoot for Grimm, and spent most nights together in Prague bars. After the shoot they remained friends and spoke fondly of each other, with Heath attending the Syriana premiere in New York. Some memories below, with quotes from Mark, ET, Herald Sun, Jane, StarLog, ComingSoon and the Electric New Paper.

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    Matt and Heath on working together
    Heath: It was a matter of finding things in each other we could steal.
    Heath: Matt’s affected my performance hugely. I’ve never had a brother for starters…
    Matt: And you don’t now.
    Heath: And I don’t need one.
    Matt: "It’s hard. If you put us in a room together and have us talk about each other it’s going to get real weird real fast".

    I absolutely love this movie. I had the best time making it and the most fun watching it. It's funny and smart, and everything that is Terry. And Matt Damon played my brother, and I just loved working with him. He's the loveliest guy in the world. A fantastic actor.

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    Terry Gilliam
    Gilliam is lush with praise for his cast. "They were fantastic", he says. "That’s what made the job a joy – the actors were incredible. Matt and Heath connected, and when people see the film, they comment that they really believe these guys are brothers. That’s the heart of the movie, and they worked out brilliantly. In a sense, I cast them against type, because I got Matt to play the ladies’ man and Heath to play the introspective, shy, quirky dreamer. Which is almost the opposite of the roles they usually play. What’s nice is watching the two of them and how they interrelate and progress through the movie."

    Co-star Lena Headey on Matt and Heath
    "I admire the two as actors anyway. Then you have to wake up and realize they're decent human beings who get on with it and have a giggle. They love each other. That was a serious love affair that went on," she joked.

    Press junket interview
    Jealousy and tension characterise their reel relationship, as the two play legendary fairytale scribes Will and Jake Grimm, who make money killing imaginary monsters. In reality, (and lamentably for gossip-lovers), there was no fighting or clash of egos between the two on or off the set. Ocean's Twelve star Damon and heart-throb Ledger were completely at ease with each other, laughing, joking and trading a playful punch or two during the 30-minute press conference.

    Anyone could tell they are close. The two grew close off-screen while working hard to forge a complex and tension-filled fraternal bond onscreen.

    Damon said: 'I have a brother myself and was struck by how the script seemed to offer a really honest treatment of a sibling relationship, (which) is constantly in flux.'

    And, being in a remote part of Prague where the film was shot, they had no-one to hang out with but each other. Not that Damon complained. At least the 34-year-old had a drinking buddy in Ledger.

    'We fell into the relationship pretty easily. We were away from friends and family, so there wasn't much to do but work. So we'd spend all day rehearsing and horseback riding. Then at night, we'd go to dinner and drink a beer."

    No drunken nights where Damon had to discipline younger 'brother' Ledger?

    'I just carried a riding (whip) and whipped him! I don't have to carry it anymore and he just flinches!' Damon joked as Ledger burst into a throaty laughter.

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    Interview prior to filming Grimm
    Interviewer: Has the other brother been cast?
    Heath: Matt Damon, and Robin Williams will be playing Trivedi.
    Interviewer: Matt Damon, he's a good guy.
    Heath: He is fantastic, a lovely, lovely guy.
    Interviewer: He is such a charming and unaffected individual.
    HL: Smart guy, too.

    Matt talking about Heath in Australia
    "I think Heath is going to be a great director. Mark that I said that in 2004," Damon said. "If he wanted to do a movie right now and there was a role for me, I'd jump at the chance. I think he's really talented."

    Damon said he watched Ledger follow Gilliam around on set. Ledger's "an incredibly imaginative guy and he's really curious", Damon said. "He already understands filmmaking at a very young age and already asks all the right questions," he said.

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    Press junket interview
    Damon and Ledger also shared a talent for mocking some questions, playfully or otherwise, with flippant answers. Humour aside, Damon and Ledger both respect each other personally and professionally.

    'I learnt a lot from Matt. He's an incredibly generous actor and person in life,' said Ledger in his sexy Aussie accent.

    'We are very similar in the way we approach work and the way we treat people. We had a lot to give to each other.'
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    From: (Anonymous) Date: January 23rd, 2008 09:59 am (UTC) (Link)
    Like others I'm also terribly shocked about Heath Ledger's death. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard the news last night.

    He was a very talented actor and I enjoyed his work very much (I can't believe I'm writing about him in the past tense). I feel so sorry for his family (especially his little daughter), they must be devastated, my heart goes out to them.

    Thank you for posting these lovely pictures of him with Matt. Marcia
    From: (Anonymous) Date: January 23rd, 2008 11:40 am (UTC) (Link)
    This is so shocking...he was so young. I couldn't believe it when I read the news...So sad...Sincere condoleances to his family and his 2 year old daughter.

    The quotes you posted are heartbreaking to read now that we know he's gone and I think Matt must be devastated by the news as he lost a good friend, and the world lost a wonderful actor and human being. R.I.P., Heath.

    From: (Anonymous) Date: January 23rd, 2008 12:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

    poor matt..........POOR FAMILY!

    it was so random last night...........one mintute thier taking about a shooting then the next heathledger was found dead today.

    its sad loosing friends.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: January 23rd, 2008 12:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
    I don't think that words can express how sad we were to hear of Heath's death. Such a fine young talent with so much more to offer. My condolences to his family.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: January 23rd, 2008 04:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

    It's just sad

    So weird that I was just watching "The Brother's Grimm" the other day. Next to Sex and the City, the Batman movie was the film I was most looking forward to seeing only because he plays the joker. This just sucks.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: January 23rd, 2008 04:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
    I've made a signature in honor of their friendship


    just copy and paste the url, you may use it if you want.

    RIP Heath, we will never forget you.

    Love, Pauline.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: January 23rd, 2008 06:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Sadly Missed.

    R.I.P Heath.
    I was shocked! Batman, looking forward to seeing it because of Heath thats the only reason and him playing the Joker. He was such a Young,talented actor, and so much to offer - i enjoyed all his films.
    Weird the night before i was watching the trailer for Batman online and the next day my Best friend told me he had died....so upset, so so sad, my heart goes out to his family, and his little girl. Sadly missed.

    From: (Anonymous) Date: January 23rd, 2008 10:15 pm (UTC) (Link)


    Matt must be crushed. Heath was definitely one of the good guys, it's so sad to lose him.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: January 23rd, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Ledger

    I don't know if I would say Heath was one of the good guys - very troubled, very addicted. Matt made him laugh and I don't know how good they were for each other - those were some wild times in Prague. Sad to see him go, but it's not unexpected.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: January 23rd, 2008 11:06 pm (UTC) (Link)


    No, not a saint. Just a normal, frail human being like the rest of us. Terrbily, terribly sad. Go out and hug a friend or loved one today, people.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: January 24th, 2008 01:06 am (UTC) (Link)
    This is a really lovely collection of Matt and Heath. I am sure Matt is devastated. Heath may not have been perfect but he still seemed like a really good person. My heart goes out to his family and especially his daughter.

    Thanks -Jess
    From: (Anonymous) Date: January 24th, 2008 08:57 am (UTC) (Link)
    Thanks everyone for their comments.

    I'm sure Heath wasn't a saint, and Matt isn't either. Everyone makes mistakes. By making that tribute I just wanted to show support to the people that loved him.

    So I actually agree with your opinion Felicity.

    x Pauline.
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