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Interview, previews - Matt Damon News Column
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Interview, previews
  • Matt's interviewed in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly.

    EW:You have The Informant! and Invictus coming out this year and an Iraq-war drama, Green Zone, set for next year, at a time when adult-oriented movies seem to be struggling at the box office. What do you make of all the hand-wringing over the state of movies for grown-ups?

    Matt: It's definitely a different world than it was a few years ago. Everyone is more skittish right now, and it's much tougher to get a green light. We're probably reading too much into it. There's a tendency to look for trends in such short time frames; Duplicity and State of Play come out and don't do business and people say, "This is the end of the movie business as we know it!" Ultimately, a studio's goal is to make movies that 13-year-old boys want to see twice, so a certain percentage of movies are always going to be big, loud, and kind of dumb--movies that my nephews absolutely love. [Laughs] But the rest of us want to go see movies too.

    EW: Has the success of the Bourne franchise given you the freedom strictly to do projects that appeal to you without having to worry about their commercial viability?

    Matt: I do very little career calculus. Early on, I saw friends of mine take jobs for those calculated reasons, and it very rarely worked out. I figured it was an impossible thing to control, so I was totally material-driven. But maybe you're right that the Bourne movies have inoculated me a little bit; if I do one of those every three or four years, at least one movie I make will be seen, you know? [Laughs]

    EW: So what's the status of the possible fourth Bourne movie?

    Matt: We're hoping to make a fourth, but we don't have a story and we don't have a script. I assume it can happen, but we have to come up with a story line that's deserving. I mean, if you see the Bourne character come out and say, "I can't remember" again, you're going to get up and walk out of the theater. It's like, "Get over it, buddy--it's been three movies. What the f---?!"

  • There are also previews of The Informant! and Invictus in EW:

    The Informant!

    Kurt Eichenwald's 2000 book, The Informant--a nonfiction account of an Archer Daniels Midland executive who helped the FBI expose a price-fixing scheme at the agribusiness giant--reads like a straight corporate thriller, but director Steven Soderbergh viewed the strange saga of Mark Whitacre, who developed superspy delusions while also secretly bilking ADM out of millions of dollars, as raw material for an absurdist twist on movies like The Insider. "I started laughing incredulously at how this story kept turning," he says. "I thought, 'How do you make this serious?'"

    To cast the flawed, mentally unstable whistle-blower, Soderbergh called on Matt Damon, with whom he'd worked on the Ocean's series. The role required Damon to pack on 30 pounds and sport a goofy mustache, but he was more than game. "It takes a certain amount of security to do that, but for Matt it was a nice change," Soderbergh says. "I started eating like crazy and drinking dark beer. I definitely got doughy," says Damon. "Between meals on set, I'd eat a No. 1 Value Meal at McDonald's and then Doritos on top of it. It was absolute heaven."

    Invictus

    When a venerated Nobel Peace Prize winner says that he'd like you to portray him in a movie, you take the request seriously. Sometime after Morgan Freeman met Nelson Mandela in the early 1990s, South Africa's then president gave the actor his blessing to play him should Hollywood ever bring his life story to the big screen. Invictus (the Latin word for undefeated and the title of a 19th-century poem that inspired Mandela during his 27 years in prison) centers on the anti-apartheid leader's efforts to unify South Africa during the early days of his presidency, culminating in the country's stun-ning upset victory at 1995's rugby World Cup.

    "I'm not a big rugby fan, so I didn't know anything about the '95 World Cup," says Freeman, who acquired the rights to John Carlin's book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation and brought the project to director Clint Eastwood. "But it's a wonderful, feel-good story." For his part, Matt Damon jumped at the opportunity to play team captain Francois Pienaar despite his near-total cluelessness about rugby. "First of all, it's Clint Eastwood directing," Damon says. "Second, it's Morgan Freeman playing Nelson Mandela. How can I pass up a chance to stand next to him while he does that?"

  • Matt talked about Twitter during the recent TCA junket, and was quoted at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. A completely fabricated quote about Twitter, accredited to Matt, is being spread across the web through inaccurate and unethical news sources.

    Matt Damon, Paul Walker and Dennis Hopper all said earlier this month that they don’t use Twitter, but imposters have set up accounts in their names, complete with the stars’ photos.

    To prevent impersonation of famous figures, Twitter is experimenting with a “Verified Account” feature that uses a white check mark inside a blue emblem atop the person’s profile. The absence of the badge does not mean an account is fake.

    “I’m not on any of those,” Damon said. “I’m actually so busy and I’m out of touch with a lot of people I want to be in touch with. My wife did it recently and she was so inundated she kind of ran out of time.”

  • Emily Blunt has cancelled an upcoming visit to Australia due to rehearsals for The Adjustment Bureau in New York.
  • 4 comments or Leave a comment
    Comments
    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 17th, 2009 08:42 am (UTC) (Link)

    Matt's fabricated Twitter statement

    Personally I think Twitter is a huge waste of time. Who has the time to blog about their every thought in a 140 words or less? I don't have a Twitter account and have no intention of getting one.

    Unethical news sources don't even get me started; after all the rubbish that's been written on the Internet about the British National Health Service, I pretty much avoid all news from 'Internet sources'. Where did all the real journalists go?

    The Informant isn't released here until November, such a long wait (sigh).

    Thanks as always for the updates. Very much appreciated by me. Marcia

    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 17th, 2009 09:10 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Matt's fabricated Twitter statement

    Hi Marcia. I don't get to see The Informant until December.

    The Twitter story is a great indication that people only read a headline and not bother with reading the text. In this case, the story is completely unrelated to the headline and the media spin. Unbelievable - and it's still spreading.



    Edited at 2009-08-17 12:25 pm (UTC)
    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 17th, 2009 01:08 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Thank you for saying that Twitter is a waste of time!

    I thought it was only me that thought Twitter is a time waster. I'm glad that a lot of people get joy from using Twitter; I created an account but found a lot of comments silly and inaccurate so I stopped even looking at it.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 18th, 2009 02:57 am (UTC) (Link)

    Green Zone

    Universal execs discuss why Green Zone was delayed at the LA Times:

    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/movies/la-fi-ct-universal17-2009aug17,0,6958409.story?page=2&track=rss

    You have several expensive movies coming up -- "Robin Hood," "The Wolfman" and "Green Zone."Given the new economics of the business, would you have gone ahead with those movies today?

    Shmuger: I don't think looking back is meaningful in any of those cases. It's looking forward and how do we make the best version of each of those movies so they have the potential to be successful.

    Putting aside the success of the war drama "The Hurt Locker," which was a low-budget film, isn't "Green Zone," a costly drama about the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, problematic, given that movies with Iraq war themes haven't done well?

    Shmuger: We were encouraged by "Hurt Locker" because it begins to show signs of an opening in the audience for a subject matter which hadn't existed in the prior 12 months. It gives us the belief that with a little more time, that openness might even become greater, which is why we made the decision to [release Green Zone] in March 2010.
    4 comments or Leave a comment