But despite last year’s hilarious ‘I’m F...... Matt Damon’ spoof collaboration with American comic Sarah Silverman (check it out on YouTube), this apparent wholesomeness has reinforced stereotypes of Damon as a squeaky clean good guy.
"Are you calling me boring?” he says, feigning offence. "It’s odd, because I don’t know what the perception of me is. I guess I know in broad terms."
He pauses and smiles. "I don’t mind being thought of as boring, if it means that no photographers follow me."
And then there’s the Coen brothers' remake of the John Wayne classic True Grit. "I won't be singing," Damon grins. "You'll be spared."
In Australia for the 2007 premiere of The Bourne Ultimatum, he did so much promotion that the Matt Damon sightings continued after he left. Last December, he allegedly hopped off an ocean liner at Bateman’s Bay, NSW, where he allegedly bought prawns and signed a petition to support, um, vodka dipping sauce.
He sighs good-naturedly. "That was somebody pretending to be me," he says of this Tom Ripley-style identity theft. "It happens. My wife used to work in a bar and the bartender called us once, saying, 'There’s a guy in here who looks like you and says he is you.' There was some guy sitting in the VIP section getting free champagne."
'Muscular' might be the key word in the Damon lexicon these days, not so much for his ability to fight but for his clout in Hollywood. He has not only excelled in offbeat character roles but has established himself as an A-list actor who can be taken seriously as an action star.
Liman: "In ‘The Bourne Identity,’ it was the perfect setup to take the perfect character and put him in a situation where there is action that he can’t avoid no matter how smart he is. You have to deal with it. Certainly Matt is one of the most talented working actors we’ve got, and he’s incredibly versatile."
Journalist Kim Masters: "(Damon) has achieved what very few people can achieve in this world, and that is stardom where he’s enormously versatile, either as an action hero or in small artsy films, Oscar material," Masters said. "He has had a varied, across-the-board kind of career. It’s really rare in today’s Hollywood, and he has done it brilliantly."