When he's not promoting a project, Damon — who has built up an enviable resume of both prestige and big box-office films, including The Bourne movies and 2007 Oscar winner The Departed — retreats into a life that revolves around his wife, Lucy, her daughter Alexia, 12, and their young daughters Isabella, 4, Gia, 2, and newborn Stella. They go to parks, playgrounds and school. Lucy calls during the interview, and the two make quick plans to coordinate who will take one daughter to her soccer game and retrieve another from school.
While Damon stands firm on his work schedule, when faced with a simple request from one of his girls, he turns to mush. He recalls one particularly telling incident when Isabella wasn't even 2 yet. "It was then she knew she had me wrapped around her finger," recalls Damon, 40, smiling bashfully. "She was asking me for something. It was a treat. I was about to give it to her. She was looking at me and I was in a trance. Lucy walked into the room and said, 'Isabella.' And she looked up at her mother and broke into the most mischievous grin.
"I realized that this 18-month-old already knew that I was completely wrapped around her finger and it made me think how unfair the fight was between men and women. I was helpless in front of this 18-month-old. So what chance did I have with her mom?"
In person, he's the epitome of a regular guy. If he knows you, he'll greet you with a hug. He remembers details and asks pertinent questions about family members, work, pets. And he doesn't roll around with an entourage, instead walking in solo for a lunchtime interview over penne a la vodka and salad, and apologizing for checking his cellphone a few times to keep track of time because he has to pick up a daughter. Talking to him is a lot like grabbing a bite with an old friend, albeit one who causes the restaurant manager to gush his admiration near the end of the meal.
So what's next for the Damons? For Christmas, they'll probably head south, to Miami, where Lucy is from and they have a home. Alexia can see her father, who lives there. "For the big holidays we're always there," Damon says. "With Alexia we go for her dad. We'll work it out."
In January, Damon starts shooting Cameron Crowe's We Bought a Zoo.
Hot guy, hot wings! Matt Damon, grabbing some wings at Jake Melnick's in Chicago, where the actor is shooting Contagion. Damon stopped in with some crewmembers and shared appetizers as they watched the New England Patriots play the New York Jets. Damon also sampled some craft brews and left his server a generous tip.