October 1st, 2006
Matt, meet Marty
When Matt Damon first met Martin Scorsese eight years ago, he hardly expected he'd be starring in one of the director's films less than a decade later. The year was 1998 and the ``Good Will Hunting" star and co-scribe was mere days away from picking up the best screenplay Oscar -- and its subsequent fame and acclaim -- that would change his life. But for the moment, the Cambridge native was just an actor looking up to a cinematic god.
"I didn't really talk to him, just told him I was an admirer. It was kind of surreal," says Damon, showing no trace of having city-hopped four times in the past week. "Ben [Affleck] and I were at a big party that our agency threw -- it was one of those deals where each of the three big agencies were throwing Oscar parties -- and Marty came to this one event. It was a huge deal for us."
"Matt's incredibly interested in who people are, and all he's concerned about is finding the truth of the moment and who his character is," says co star Vera Farmiga, who plays a police psychologist who gets involved with Damon's and DiCaprio's characters. "Matt is so generous as an actor and emotionally direct, he was a real light on set."
"I want to direct someday too, so [working with Marty] was like yet another chance at film school," says Damon, who henpecked Scorsese whenever he found a quiet moment. "All of my directors have been very forthcoming about why they're doing what they're doing, and everyone's approach is totally different. Marty's is based on having seen absolutely everything out there, so he knows every single way of telling a story.
"Plus, with Marty, if you ask him why the camera's moving, you're going to get a 10-minute explanation because he's got this encyclopedic knowledge of cinema. He's famous for that," he says. "And the most interesting thing about this environment -- the thing most unlike any other set I'd ever seen -- was how quiet it was. The first day I walked on set, I stopped because I thought they must be rolling, but they were just setting up."
"Your relationship to all children changes once you have a child," says Damon, who married long time girlfriend Luciana Barroso in a quiet City Hall ceremony in New York last December, and watched her give birth to baby Isabella in June (he has also adopted Alexia, Barroso's daughter from a previous marriage). "When talking about the world's children, it's easy to get overwhelmed by numbers and statistics, but once you have children, every single one becomes this beautiful soul. The older I get, the more I realize how much we can change."
Scorsese: This is going to be a little interview or something, right? Because I get very nervous about interviews.
Damon: I didn't know they gave Man of the Year to four people.
Dicaprio: Just remember how great sarcasm translates into print.
Time: So it's not just false modesty when actors and directors say they hate watching their movies?
Dicaprio: It takes probably 10 years to detach yourself from the filmmaking experience.
Damon: You remember every-thing. So you watch it, and it's impossible not to think about what you ate for lunch that day. That's not even getting into all your hopes for what it might have been.