You film a lot. How do you take care of your family?
With my wife, we have established a rule of fifteen days maximum separation, and we never go beyond that. But, I just broke away from her and my four daughters for sixteen days, and it is much too long. At age 40, time is precious, and any separation from my family is hard.
He’s shot seven films with Steven Soderbergh, including this year’s Behind The Candelabra, and he’s recently reunited with close friend George Clooney, taking a role in the latter’s fifth directorial offering, an adaptation of the book The Monuments Men, which recounts the story of an Allied group tasked with saving art treasures from the Nazis at the end of World War II.
‘There’s actually a lot of humour in it,’ Damon says of Clooney’s film. ‘It is serious in a sense but it’s also a funny film and almost feels like a heist movie. There’s a lot of that camaraderie between the guys. It is shaping up to be a terrific movie.’
Though the Boston Marathon bombing in his hometown earlier this year has tempered the celebrations, 2013 stands as a big year for Damon. Elysium comes hot on the heels of his acclaimed performance opposite Michael Douglas in Behind The Candelabra, which in turn followed his decision to renew his vows with his wife, Lucy Barroso.
‘I didn’t re-ask her to marry me,’ he reveals, ‘but originally we were going to have a wedding at the end of 2005 in our house in Miami over Christmas. My family was coming down and we were going to surprise them with a little wedding. But somehow word got out, The National Enquirer had wind of it, so Lucy and I went to City Hall and got married quickly and quietly.
‘But we always said that we wanted to have a proper wedding. We wanted to do this with our family and our friends but then we put it off. We kept having kids but finally, after seven and a half years, we said: “Let’s do it!”’
They renewed their vows in St Lucia in April with their friends, family and children; Damon lives in a girl’s world at home with daughters Alexia (from Barroso’s first marriage), Isabella, Gia and Stella.
‘Women definitely seem like a different species,’ smiles Damon. ‘We will have boys from my girls’ class come over and they will instantly take the toys and find boys to play with them. But the boys never go to my girls; they’re instantly hitting each other over the head. ‘Boys certainly seem a little more inclined to be violent,’ he laughs, ‘although I’m no shrink!’
Matt: America stems from its immigrants. And it has only been positive. Think of my children. They are American. However, they have English, Swedish, Scottish, Finnish, French, Italian, Spanish and Argentinian blood in them. They have eight countries represented in them. There you have the modern American child. The whole history of mankind is the rest of the people moving to better places.
But the important thing that Copley has taken away from the making of Elysium is his relationship with Matt Damon. “I feel very privileged to have formed a friendship with a man so decent, so grounded and so passionate about films and filmmaking. He’s become a great role model.”
Blomkamp: When we were in Mexico filming, Matt was telling me that when he was younger his approach was to be that method actor who got immersed in the character. He thought that if you lived that character that’s how you would find the best performance. Then he said that he got to a point in his career when he realised that making films is the director’s medium, and it’s the director’s palette. He realised it’s the actors job to pull that magic trick, to pull the wool over the audience’s eyes. It’s quite interesting because his philosophy helps the director fulfil his goal and I’ve never heard an actor say that before.