The celebrity industrial complex is many things, but genuine it is not. With so much money at stake—a recent study of troubled pop star Britney Spears pegged her value to the economy at between $110 million and $120 million, and she doesn't even sing anymore—it's difficult to accept the things celebrities say or do at face value, no matter how legitimate a reason they offer up.
But everyone has that one famous person who, despite how cynical publicist denials and staged paparazzi shots and canned interview responses have made us, we consider to be the real deal. Ours is actually Matt Damon—he's always shied away from spotlight, he doesn't open his mouth unless he has to, and, when he does, it seems like he's given thought to what he's saying.
In this spirit, we asked a bunch of people who they considered to be the most genuine celebrity—that is, the one individual they thought exuded authenticity in how they conduct themselves. The anti–Paris Hilton, if you will. Not surprisingly, the man who received the most votes was George Clooney (our boy Damon actually placed second).
Matt Damon: "He didn't marry a celebrity and he's always awkward and withdrawn on talk shows, which means he's a normal person. There's this great bit about him in a GQ story where he is taking a piss and the interviewer writes about how loud it is because Damon really isn't giving him anything else to work with. He seems entirely unconcerned with the trappings of fame."
Aadesh, who doesn’t watch too many Hollywood films, did not recognise the Bourne Identity actor. To add insult to the injury, so to say, Aadesh told Damon after the show that he was the best anchor he had worked with! “He had actually come to compliment me for my music,” Aadesh sheepishly told BT. “He liked the bhangra grooves and we spent the evening discussing Bollywood and Indian music. When I told him he was a great anchor, Damon looked at me as if I was joking,” recalled Aadesh. “But he graciously accepted my praise.”
That’s when the organiser of the gig thought it would be kind to inform the Bollywood music man who the evening’s star anchor really was.
“I was so embarrassed,” said Aadesh. “And I decided to return home and get DVDs of Damon’s hit movies Goodwill Hunting and the Jason Bourne series. I was bowled over by his absolute sporting spirit. In India if a big star is not recognised, they throw a fit! But Damon laughed at my ignorance and said he enjoyed my ignominy.”