Next up for Damon is "The Departed," directed by Martin Scorsese, a remake of a 2002 Hong Kong film in which a Boston cop infiltrates an Irish-American gang, and a gangster infiltrates the police force. The cast also features Leonardo DiCaprio (Scorsese's "Gangs of New York"), Mark Wahlberg --who, like Damon, is a native of the Boston area -- Jack Nicholson and Anthony Anderson ("The Shield").
"There's always that fear that anybody has," Damon says, "that Scorsese will tell you that you suck. But no, I really don't have any fears going into it. I'm doing a lot of preparation. I'm playing the cop."
Oddly, this is the first time Damon has donned a badge for a film.
"Yeah," he says, "20 films without playing the cop, and he's a really complicated character. So I'm going to do all the police-academy stuff this week, meeting all those detectives and guys that work in the organized-crime unit for the state troopers.
"It takes place in Boston, so we're going to shoot some of it in New York and some of it in Boston."
As to why the entire film isn't being shot in Boston, a frustrated Damon gives the credit to New York City's mayor and New York State's governor.
"Bloomberg and Pataki passed this tax-relief program," he says. "They should do it in Boston, too. Here's Scorsese, he's in this 'Let's keep filming in America' battle, then they looked at the prices in Boston, and New York was cheaper. Classically the most expensive place to shoot, New York, was cheaper than Boston.
"They just haven't figured it out [in Massachusetts]. It's got to be Governor Mitt Romney. These guys have to come through and understand that they're losing significant money, because things don't come to Boston a lot.
"The lawmakers in Boston aren't understanding that they're letting all this money get away, and it would be great for the city to get more work. But I finally get to work at home."