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Matt Damon News Column
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UNICEF Ball, Invictus
  • Matt and Lucy attended the UNICEF Ball honoring producer Jerry Weintraub on Thursday night in Los Angeles. Photos are from Yahoo and Fotoglif, with a report at Yahoo.

    The A-list dinner party drew top performers and singing legends.

    George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bruce Willis, Larry David, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie gathered around Jerry Weintraub's table at the posh UNICEF Ball in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel ballroom Thursday night to honor the legendary producer's philanthropic work. Clooney presented Weintraub with the Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award, named after the late singer-actor.

    During the event, Pitt and Jolie held their position at Weintraub's table while Damon, Willis and David mingled with other guests, including Dustin Hoffman and Jeremy Piven.

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  • Actress Bryce Dallas-Howard has joined the cast of Hereafter, according to Variety:

    Bryce Dallas Howard has signed to star opposite Matt Damon in Clint Eastwood's supernatural drama "Hereafter" for Warner Bros.

    "Hereafter," penned by Peter Morgan, tells the story of three people -- a blue-collar American, a French journalist and a London school boy -- who are touched by death in different ways.

  • An article on the making of Invictus and Hereafter is at LA Weekly, including:

    Later in the day, Matt Damon, who sports a prosthetic nose, heavily muscled-up physique and a spot-on Afrikaner accent to play the Springboks’ captain, François Pienaar, says that working with Eastwood is "the top of the mountain for every department." Then he jokes that he’s having such a good time he feels guilty about cashing his paychecks.

    "I'll be waiting for my kickback," Eastwood grumbles good-naturedly from his director's chair.

    Already, there is much discussion about Eastwood’s next project, Hereafter, which he expects to begin shooting by early fall. Based on an original script by The Queen and Frost/Nixon writer Peter Morgan, the film links together three stories, each in some way about the border between life and death, this world and the next.(Reuniting with his Invictus director, Damon will star as an auto-factory worker who was once a spritual medium.)

    "It’s unexplored terrain," Eastwood tells me when I ask what drew him to the material, and indeed, though he has twice cast himself as something like an angel of death, in the existential westerns High Plains Drifter and Pale Rider, he has never made a film on an overtly supernatural subject.

    "I liked the way Peter Morgan incorporates real events like the [2004 Indian Ocean] tsunami and the terrorist attacks on London into a fictional story," he continues. "Also, there's a certain charlatan aspect to the hereafter, to those who prey on people’s beliefs that there's some afterlife, and mankind doesn’t seem to be willing to accept that this is your life and you should do the best you can with it and enjoy it while you’re here, and that’ll be enough. There has to be immortality or eternal life and embracing some religious thing. I don’t have the answer. Maybe there is a hereafter, but I don’t know, so I approach it by not knowing. I just tell the story."

  • There's an article with Matt and Josh Brolin in the new Entertainment Weekly promoting The People Speak. A preview is at the New York Daily News. A fun clip from the interview is at Extra.

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    Matt Damon and Josh Brolin joked during a sit-down interview with Entertainment Weekly about their best screen collaborations. Brolin dished details about his upcoming movie with Woody Allen, only for Damon to step in and reveal his encounter with the film icon.

    How did Matt Damon and Josh Brolin get an all-star lineup for their documentary "The People Speak"? "Matt knows some people," Brolin jokes in the upcoming Entertainment Weekly about Morgan Freeman, Marisa Tomei and Bruce Springsteen, who came on board to read speeches in the History Channel flick.

    The A-listers were grateful to be included. "Bruce Springsteen sent me a little [thank-you] card," says Brolin — much to the surprise of his fellow producer. "I didn't get one of those!" laughs Damon. "What the —?!"

  • Matt's interview on The Jay Leno Show is available at the official site. The Access Hollywood interview with Matt and Morgan is available here. The Daily 10 interview where Matt discusses missing the Oscars when The Departed won is at YouTube. The first part of the CBS Early Show interview discussing Invictus is also at YouTube - the second part about The People Speak will air on Friday. An interview with Springbok 'actor' and trainer Grant Roberts is here. A not-so-serious interview with Matt and Francois is Fox Sports - excerpt below:

    Interviewer: Francois, you united a nation. Matt, you have a song in which you f***ed Sarah Silverman.
    Matt: Yeah, so I come out on top.

  • An article which focuses on the editing choices made by some awards contenders is at Variety. An interview with Pienaar is at CNN. Matt was cast in Invictus following a suggestion by Warner Bros executive Alan Horn:

    Domino effect: "After Clint signed on, Alan Horn suggested Matt Damon, an idea we embraced since he's a great actor and very athletic," producer Robert Lorenz says.

  • Matt wants to be on the TV show 30 Rock - a report from EW's Michael Ausiello:

    Question: How’s about some good 30 Rock scoop. —Khewit
    Ausiello: I hear Tina Fey’s next big celeb get is Matt Damon. I also hear The Ausiello Files will collect a small commission if a deal comes to pass since we jump-started negotiations with Damon at last week’s Invictus premiere. "I would do [30 Rock] in a heartbeat if they asked me to come on," Damon enthused. "I have not been approached about doing it. She should call my people — or even better me. Or I could call her. Let’s make this happen. Tina is a brilliant comedy writer. My wife and I download that show in bulk. That’s actually one of the downsides to working so much this year; I have fallen behind on this season. But we love that show, so if she has a part for me, I'm game."

    Ball's in your court, Fey!

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  • Jeff Bridges talked about True Grit at Moviefone:

    Jeff Bridges -- who is garnering Oscar buzz for his earthy turn as a country singer in Fox Searchlight's 'Crazy Heart,' hitting theaters Dec. 16 -- will next star in the Coen brothers' 'True Grit,' after having finished shooting on 'Tron: Legacy.'

    "They're the brothers, man. They're the masters," Bridges told Moviefone of 'True Grit's' Joel and Ethan Coen at Tuesday's 'Crazy Heart' premiere in Beverly Hills.

    "And it's going to be a Western -- I love doing westerns," Bridges said. "We have a great cast. We have Josh Brolin and Matt Damon as well, so I am really looking forward to it."

  • Invictus is getting great reviews from the major publications. A summary of the LA Times and NY Times reviews is at Awards Daily. The following quote is from the Washington Post:

    If 2009 had a most valuable player award for the movies, it would have to go to Matt Damon. Whether he's appearing in "The Informant!," a Sarah Silverman Web parody or in Clint Eastwood's stirring post-apartheid drama, "Invictus," he has been consistently spot-on and almost breathtakingly self-effacing. He has become that most unlikely Hollywood rarity: a character actor with a matinee-idol face.
  • 5 comments or Leave a comment
    Comments
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 11th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
    You're probably getting tired of hearing it, but congratulations on your voluminous, meticulous reporting. It's such fun to read--a one-stop Matt Damon cornucopia!

    Also, I'm really happy Matt's beginning to get the near-universal recognition and praise he has deserved for so long. I was much impressed as well by his determination on Leno to get through reading what he says he considers the most important part of the Declaration of Independence. It's crucial people realize that it is they who may change the government if collectively they feel it's not serving them. Portraying someone who helped to unite a country in Invictus with conviction, he also knows how, in his daily life, to speak truth to power. Man after my own heart.

    Thanks again for the great site.

    I.B.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: December 13th, 2009 04:00 am (UTC) (Link)
    Thanks for your comment I.B. Love the respect Matt's earning, but people aren't seeing the movie. It looks like Invictus will fare worse than The Informant on its opening weekend (under $10 million). Word of mouth should be much stronger though.

    In a case of what if - all the movies Matt turns down make money (Dark Knight, Avatar, probably Milk). The ones he sticks with for moral reasons (and they are much better movies), don't go so well.

    The vitriol in the web world against Matt is pretty fierce at the moment - for his comments on Mandela, the history project etc. The general public really does seem to want their actors to just shut up and not have a point of view.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 11th, 2009 09:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Invictus on BBC Radio 4 Today programme

    The Today programme on BBC Radio 4 this morning had a segment on Invictus. Very surprising for The Today programme is a very serious early morning news programme. They rarely do entertainment news. The movie opens in South Africa today, and maybe that's why it was on.

    There was no new information but the reporter really praised Morgan Freeman and said nice things about Matt, there were brief snippets of interviews from both of them and Clint Eastwood (again nothing I haven't already read here); she was at least impressed with Matt's Afrikaans accent. The reporter also spoke to the actress how plays Matt's wife (sorry but I don't remember her name).

    She was fourteen at the time of the match and didn't realise the significance of it until she was much older. She briefly discussed what it was like as a white person dealing with Apartheid. She was very sheltered from what was going on in her own country and feels it was that way for the majority of whites.

    I think Morgan Freeman will get most of the notices and probably awards nominations and Matt will again be overlooked. The movie comes out here on 5th February 2010 I think. Can't wait!

    Thanks as always for all the great work you do on this site, I really appreciate it. I hope you liked the Informant!

    Marcia
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: December 13th, 2009 04:06 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Invictus on BBC Radio 4 Today programme

    Thanks Marcia. For once Australia will get Invictus before the UK (on 21 January). The reviews from the UK, Australia and other rugby nations will be very interesting. The South African reviews are mostly positive, with some nit-picking on specific details.

    I really liked The Informant, and thought it very clever, but I can see how Matt won't be recognised. Loved the script, music, the graphics and the ambition of the project - so talky and dense. Matt looked to be having so much fun, and the sets and designs were great. But for people who today only want a simple movie with laughs and a linear structure it would go right over their heads.

    A worthy project which will hopefully find more fans on DVD.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: December 12th, 2009 01:27 am (UTC) (Link)

    Detroit critics

    Matt was nominated for Best Actor in The Informant by the Detroit Film Critics Society.
    http://oscar-watch.ew.com/2009/12/11/detroit-film-critics-announce-nominees

    An interview with Matt on NPR's 'All things considered':
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121236643&ft=1&f=1055

    Best photos from the UNICEF Ball:
    http://www.popsugar.com/6615769

    Edited at 2009-12-12 01:49 am (UTC)
    5 comments or Leave a comment