Coming Soon: The next two movies you're doing are book adaptations, "The Informant" and "Moneyball," working with two actors you've worked with before (Matt Damon and Brad Pitt) albeit as part of an ensemble. Can you talk about those two movies and how you read those books and decided those would be movies you'd want to make?
Soderbergh: We heard the story (for "The Informant") on NPR, got the rights to the book, started working on it - this is 2001, and this would've been Jennifer Fox and Ben Cosgrove, who were running Section A. We picked up the book, I sent it to Mattie, Mattie said, "I'm in." We hired Scott Burns to write the script. It was sitting there waiting for a long time, waiting for a slot for me and for Matt. Again, that's a $22 million movie and we decided at a certain point to make it a comedy, which I think was the best move. It's not "The Insider," it's more like "Citizen Ruth." I think Matt's genuinely hilarious in it, playing a kind of... sort of Willy Loman on acid.
Hale: “It’s a dramatic script, but it’s such a crazy story about what happened to this guy, played by Matt Damon, that Soderbergh brought in a lot of comic actors to add our quirky edge—what we bring to the table. We weren’t really punching up the script and making it funny. Just our mannerisms and everything we did added to the chaos of how crazy this story is.”
Zany’s a multimedia performer, too. If you missed him shoving David Spade into a janitorial cart in “Joe Dirt,” you can see him opposite Matt Damon in “The Informant.” He’s hopeful he won’t end up on the cutting room floor. “I play an attorney who interacts with Matt Damon’s character in scenes which seem integral to the movie.”
And yes, Damon is just as nice as everyone says. “He’s a down-to-earth guy,” Zany says.
Efron: I have a model. Matt Damon. What do you know about his private life? Probably nothing. And that is probably the reason why you believe him in each role. He’s not Matt Damon, but the character he plays. I would like to achieve that.
Another honorary member from overseas, Matt Damon was enrolled into the BBKA after giving a talk to members in 2005. Damon learnt the art of beekeeping from his grandfather as a child, and although nowadays his busy lifestyle means he doesn't always get to tend to his bees personally, he employs a full-time beekeeper at his home in Florida and often gives gifts of fresh honey to friends and relatives.
Paris-based SND will rep international rights to "The Challenges of Reconciliation," a behind-the-scenes look at Clint Eastwood's vision of the South Africa forged by Nelson Mandela.
"Reconciliation," a docu-feature, was shot as Eastwood lensed his Warner Bros.-backed "The Human Factor," which stars Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon as South African rugby captain Francois Pienaar in the story of how the South Africa-hosted 1995 Rugby World Cup helped unite the nation. Docu is directed by Michael Henry Wilson, who co-wrote and co-helmed "A Personal Journey Through American Movies With Martin Scorsese." Wilson also helmed docu profile "Clint Eastwood: A Life in Film."
"The idea is to show how a great movie figure and a great political and historical figure both care about the ideas of justice and reconciliation in their respective careers," said Lionel Uzan, SND director of international sales and acquisitions.
"Reconciliation" aims to be at next year's Cannes, on the cusp of the South Africa-hosted 2010 World Cup Soccer tournament.
Celebrating Mother's Day at Smith & Wollensky Sunday afternoon: Matt Damon and family.