Actor Matt Damon and producer Frank Marshall lent their Hollywood appeal to an Oklahoma City area charity Tuesday.
The pair appeared at a benefit premiere of their new movie "The Bourne Ultimatum” at Harkins Bricktown Cinemas 16. They walked the "red carpet," which was actually dark purple, down the east hallway of the theater, while people stood on tiptoes to catch a glimpse or a snapshot.
Along the way, reporters asked Damon questions ranging from his advice to any secret assassins living in Oklahoma ("Turn yourself in.”) to the need for environmentally friendly movie sets. ("You hear actors huff and puff about global warming, but you'll go on a movie set and see like 8,000 Styrofoam cups laying around.")
At least 1,000 people packed three theaters to see the film, which opens nationwide Friday. The event raised about $192,000 for The Children's Center, a nonprofit Bethany hospital that provides medical care, rehabilitative therapies and special education to children with medical and physical disabilities.
"That's great," Damon said when he heard the amount in an interview at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art before the movie. "It just makes it pretty much a moral obligation of ours to come and to do it, you know. It's having such a real effect, and there's such a tangible thing when you start seeing programs and buildings and people's lives are changing because of this."
We knew Matt Damon was a big Bosox fan, we just didn't know how big. On "Live With Regis and Kelly" yesterday, cohost Regis Philbin said he bumped into "The Bourne Ultimatum" star at the movie's premiere and that our man Matt revealed something kind of weird: He wants to be buried in a Red Sox uniform, and not just any Sox uni. When this diehard is dead, he wants to be dressed in a No. 8 Sox jersey in honor of his hero Carl Yastrzemski.
Damon and his wife had a daughter in June 2006. Fatherhood has Damon thinking more about doing a children's film, something he could show his daughter, unlike the "Bourne" flicks, which he said "she's not going to see for quite a while."
Becoming a parent also has reinforced the values that have guided Damon over choosing roles in general.
"Those are the kinds of things where I say, 'Well, do I want my daughter exposed, knowing that her dad makes movies like this or that?'" Damon said.
"There are so many movies that drive my mom just totally crazy, because there are these thousands of acts of violence. The movies are rated PG-13, but the toys are marketed to ages 4 and up. So you get these kids who are just getting pounded by this imagery from a very young age. I don't want to be a part of that."
"This is his time," said Paul Greengrass, who directed "Bourne Supremacy" and "Bourne Ultimatum."
Greengrass said he could not have inherited a better actor to play Jason Bourne.
"He's got a particular skill set as an actor that makes him perfect for this," Greengrass said. "He's a brilliant actor of duality. He's done it on a number of films back from the beginning. 'Ripley's' a classic example. Because he's got that open face, and yet it's capable of dark actions. It makes him very, very morally ambiguous.
"I think he's been at his best on the screen when he's explored that. Particularly so in 'Bourne,' because the character itself is a duality, with the dark past and the renounced past."
Co-star Joan Allen, reprising her "Bourne Supremacy" role as a CIA spymaster sympathetic to Bourne, said Damon packs as much conflict into the character as the movie packs action.
"When I look at some of the moments that he has, I can't believe the number of things he has going on simultaneously," Allen said. "Here's a character that has these super powers, he's very smart, he doesn't really understand, he's confused and he's tortured. And sometimes, I see all that in Matt in just a look...
"I think he's also very sexy as he does it. Even though there's very little overt sexuality, these are very sexy films, and he is very sexy in them."
"I miss screenwriting a lot. I wouldn't have been able to make it through these last 10 years if there wasn't some amount of that in all these roles I've played," Damon, 36, said over coffee at the boutique Hotel 43. "Not that I rewrite other writers, but as an actor, your job is to make your part your own and that's always going to involve a little bit of what some people would call writing."
"I'm leaning toward adapting and writing something myself to direct," he said. "I'm reading all this nonfiction."
Finding good source material isn't a cakewalk, however. With a 9-year-old stepdaughter, Alexia, and 13-month-old daughter, Isabella, time to read is limited at best. Damon normally reads on planes, when he's not with his family. When Isabella was born last year, Damon and his wife Luciana Bozan Barroso decided to travel as a family unit as much as possible.
"I do all my reading these days when I'm not with my family so I'm reading really rarely right now. I have a backlog of scripts that I have to read. It's really hard," he said. "I've got to find the right thing, and it's really all about material."
Who else would you like to work with?
Damon: There are a lot of people.
Are you doing the commentary for the DVD on this?
Damon: Maybe if Paul invites…yeah, Paul said he wanted to do it with me. The question would be if we can get together to sit and watch it and do it. I'd love to do it with Paul. I don't think it would be very serious if we did it together.
The first 20 minutes of The Bourne Ultimatum, the third and final chapter in the trilogy about the baby-faced C.I.A. operative with amnesia, are better than Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean I, II and III, and anything with Bruce Willis all put together. From there, it’s uphill all the way. A knockout roller-coaster ride custom-made for adrenaline junkies, it’s easily the savviest and most satisfying spy movie in years, besting both of its preceding Bournes—Identity and Supremacy.
But they all lend support in the truest sense, because it’s Matt Damon’s show all the way. Bourne is a bit of a cipher; his whole identity is that he has no identity. In the hands of a less accomplished actor that might be a recipe for blandness. But Damon is a hard-working beaver who brings such intensity and singularity of purpose to the role that you can’t take your eyes off him. Not too difficult, since he’s in almost every frame of film, but still quite an admirable feat to demand and get the kind of serious attention that is justified.
But where Bond movies are juiced by a conflict of egos, the Bourne adventures are all about competing intelligence systems—as manifested through action set-pieces. In the case of Ultimatum, make that flabbergasting, mind-boggling, next-level action set-pieces.