In a wide-ranging telephone interview last week, Damon weighed in on the confusion fueled by dueling film offices in Massachusetts and the state's lack of tax incentives to entice big-budget productions to the region.
As has been reported, Scorsese wanted "The Departed," a remake of the Hong Kong hit "Infernal Affairs," to be filmed entirely in Massachusetts (the script is set in Boston), but couldn't make the bottom line work without the kind of enticements that now exist in Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and a growing raft of other states. Instead, producers will reap a 15 percent tax credit and other perks by shooting at least 75 percent of the $90 million movie in New York, with filming now slated to begin in New York next week. Scorsese, who has been in Boston the last few days scouting locations, will make do with the five or six weeks he gets to shoot here during two separate visits beginning in June.
When Damon and his "Good Will Hunting" collaborator Ben Affleck were growing up in Cambridge, he said they dreamed of being in a film shot in New York, because New York was then so expensive that shooting there surely meant you'd made it. "Well, cut to 18 years later and my own city is losing out to New York because we're more expensive," Damon said. "It's totally absurd."
MOTT this week unveiled a new $3.8 million promotional campaign called "My Massachusetts." It includes television ads with celebrities, such as actor Matt Damon at Fenway Park.