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Matt Damon News Column
True Grit reviews, interviews
  • Reviews for True Grit are currently at 95% positive, according to Rotten Tomatoes, representing the best reviewed movie of Matt's acting career (Inside Job is at 97%). Excerpts from a few reviews are below:

    That's just part of what makes this version of "True Grit" so amusing, though. There's also Bridges' competitive interplay with Matt Damon, a bit of a buffoon as a preening Texas Ranger, which Damon plays with some of the same goofy humor he showed last year in "The Informant!" It's yet another reminder that he can do anything.

    Movie City News
    Matt Damon gave my favorite performance in the film because LaBoeuf was the only character that really seemed like he was in a Coen Brothers movie. LaBoeuf is odd, but not in an unnecessary way. He’s heroic, but almost in an incidental way. He’s got a strangely strong temper, but it seems to be borne out of caring. Damon’s walk, the way he carries himself, the way he talks, all speak to the arrogance of this character. When he’s not on screen, the film loses its dark sense of humor and becomes far more conventional.

    California Chronicle
    In fact, "True Grit" is loaded with impressive acting. Matt Damon shows he can handle character roles as a Texas Ranger on the trail of the killer. He becomes the comic relief and the central purveyor of the dark humor that permeates Coen brother films.

    New York Post
    Damon does some of the best acting of his career here: Everything about LaBoeuf feels soft, from his suede coat to his fluffy mustache and the jingle-bell sound of his shiny spurs. Yet this sagebrush oaf — Mattie calls him a “rodeo clown” — becomes fully human as Damon locates the professionalism and wounded pride of a man who might be able to control his self-serving prattle if only everyone would stop making fun of him.

    LA Times
    A third wheel gets added to this party soon enough, when a Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf, who is after Chaney for another crime, joins their party. A bit of a bragger and more than a bit stuck on himself, LaBoeuf is beautifully realized by Damon as someone whose Sharps carbine is envied but whose presence irritates all and sundry.

    NW Herald
    If the new “True Grit” has a clear claim of superiority over the 1968 version, it’s the fact that Matt Damon plays LaBeouf and not Glen Campbell. With the clothing of Buffalo Bill Cody and the rectitude of Dudley Do-Right, LaBeouf is a walking cliché but refuses to admit it. He wears jangling spurs even when he’s nowhere near a horse. Damon’s obtuse LaBeouf is a delight – “You give very little sugar with your pronouncements,” he tells the blunt-spoken Mattie – and if anyone scores an Oscar for “True Grit,” it will be Damon. Steinfeld may be a runner up as the stone-faced Mattie.

    Rolling Stone
    Just watch her outmaneuver a horse trader or slap around Matt Damon's La Boeuf (pronounced "la beef"), the vain Texas ranger who deems her too unattractive and too young to rouse his interest. You'll go nuts over Damon. He puts everything into the role and rides it to glory.

  • Interviews are available at NY1, On the red carpet, Extra and AZ Central.

    Q: How do you pick your projects?
    A: It's always a director decision for me. It's a director's medium. A mediocre director can ruin a great script, and a great director can elevate a mediocre script. That's your big bet. You're looking at that person and you're all in on that person. And then you've got to ride the horse to the finish line. That's the thing. I don't believe in blowing up a movie if it's not going well. You've just got to do your level best to finish the job as well as you can. Sometimes you're working with the Coen brothers, and it's just a blissful, easy experience, and sometimes you're not, and the director isn't what you thought he was. But you never abandon (the movie). Your chips go in the middle with the decision to say you'll do the movie. That's when you're taking your career in your hands, at the moment you say yes.

  • From an interview with Joel and Ethan Coen at In Contention:

    The reunion [with Bridges] was “great,” Joel says. “It’s been a long time since we worked together, but, you know, it was a very easy, really congenial relationship the first time and on this one it felt very much the same. Jeff’s a really easy-going guy in terms of personal relationships and all the rest of it. He’s not a contentious fellow. But so is Matt [Damon]. Matt is a real team player, get in there and do the stuff.” He adds with a laugh and a playful smirk to his brother, “Josh [Brolin], on the other hand, is a pain in the ass.”

  • Matt talks about Hallie Steinfeld at ABC, and Hallie talked about Matt at Movieline.

    Movieline: There’s a very… awkward relationship between Mattie and LaBeouf—
    Hallie: Yes! [Laughs]
    Movieline: I mean, he all but makes a pass at her in their first meeting, and later, he’s almost heartbroken to bid farewell. I’m curious how you and Matt Damon worked together to find just the right balance of sympathy and… whatever you want to call that. Was that weird?
    Hallie: As the character, it is kind of weird and awkward and mysterious. But Matt is so incredible. He’s the best — so soft-spoken, so gentle. There was never a point in the entire process where I felt intimidated by him. And my thanks to him: He never made me feel that way. He was always giving me encouragement, and that was helpful. I think a lot of it had to do with our offscreen relationship being great. We had about a week and a half of rehearsal before we started shooting, so we had that time to find the truth of the scene and really share our ideas on things like that. But that [scene] itself really isn’t something we talked about.

  • Matt, Joel and Ethan Cohen were interviewed on Charlie Rose on Tuesday night. The video should be available shortly at CharlieRose.com.

  • Brief details of the film shoot for We Bought A Zoo are at the LA Times:

    Sony Pictures recently began filming its fourth installment of the Spider-Man series locally, and 20th Century Fox’s “We Bought a Zoo,” starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, is preparing to begin production in Thousand Oaks next month.

    In Thousand Oaks, crews have been building a zoo on a private ranch as they prepare to begin a 50-day shoot next month for “We Bought a Zoo.”

    Directed by Cameron Crowe, the film is based on the bestselling memoir of the same name about an Englishman who build a wildlife preserve to care for some 200 animals.

  • From Now Toronto's entertainment awards of the year:

    Most Valuable Player
    Matt Damon distinguished himself in just about every way possible in 2010 – charging righteously through Paul Greengrass’s Green Zone, playing a soulful seer in Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter, narrating Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job, turning in one of the savviest performances of his career as a puffed-up Texas Ranger in True Grit… and just crushing it as Liz Lemon’s boyfriend Carol on 30 Rock.
  • 11 comments or Leave a comment
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 22nd, 2010 12:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Thanks for posting the reviews

    These are wonderful comments about Mr. Damon's acting ability -- Matt has had a great year. First, he was awesome in The Green Zone and in Hereafter, his acting was understated and moving. I can't wait to see True Grit!
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: December 22nd, 2010 08:16 pm (UTC) (Link)


    Moviefone interview:

    Matt talks about Steven Soderbergh's plans to retire:

    Interview with Matt, Ethan and Joel Coen on Charlie Rose is now online:

    There will be a feature on Matt in Sunday's LA Times (just mentioned by journalist Geoff Boucher on Facebook).

    Edited at 2010-12-22 08:53 pm (UTC)
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 23rd, 2010 01:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Other

    Really enjoyed the Charlie Rose interview, thanks for posting it. Great reviews and a great looking movie. Marcia
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: December 23rd, 2010 02:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Other

    Hi Marcia. Matt's done quite a few interviews with Charlie - one of the best being an early interview with Robin Williams for Good Will Hunting.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 23rd, 2010 05:58 am (UTC) (Link)
    Wow! These are great reviews! I really can't wait to see True Grit and Hereafter when they're finally released in Australia next year.
    Thankyou so much for the great job you do in posting all the information you find on Matt!
    Merry Christmas!
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: December 23rd, 2010 06:52 am (UTC) (Link)
    Karen, did you see that True Grit has been delayed from 20 January to Australia Day? Not sure why, but it seemed to happen a week or so back.

    But we will have True Grit, Hereafter and Adjustment Bureau within six weeks.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 23rd, 2010 07:13 am (UTC) (Link)
    I can't wait for Adjustment Bureau! I've been counting down the months for months ;)
    I plan to see True Grit tomorrow...but I won't bother telling you my thoughts because obviously it will be amazing.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: December 23rd, 2010 08:40 am (UTC) (Link)
    Still tell us :-) Lots of raves on Twitter and other sites, including from Judd Apatow (Matt does want an 'in' to his ensemble...)

    juddapatow: True Grit was really funny in addition to it’s basic greatness. Matt Damon was making me and Leslie laugh a lot. Coen brothers are too great
    juddapatow: Josh Brolin in True Grit favorite character of the year. Matt Damon was ridiculously funny. I hate it when handsome smart guys do that too.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 24th, 2010 05:22 am (UTC) (Link)
    I hadn't heard that. Thanks for letting me know.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: December 23rd, 2010 07:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

    True Grit

    True Grit opened on Wednesday with $5.5 million in third place. A five-day weekend of $20 million was the studio's estimate (although rival studios thought it would be higher). That's going to be a great take considering the film's budget of $35 million.


    Edited at 2010-12-23 07:23 pm (UTC)
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: December 24th, 2010 12:28 am (UTC) (Link)

    LA Times interview

    Matt's Sunday interview at the LA Times by Geoff Boucher is up early at the Chicago Tribune:


    And if Damon had to list the people who weren't the good guys as he had hoped? The 40-year-old actor let out a sharp laugh. "That's at the end of my career. Can I call you back on that one?"

    Damon was speaking by phone from frosty Chicago, and he was in no hurry to hang up. The wind outside was too frigid, the hotel room too quiet and his wife and children too far away. "It's like 10 degrees here, I'm not going anywhere," said the father of three, "and it's nice to have a grown-up conversation any time."

    "He's a gem to work with," Eastwood said. "He has this reticent Americana persona on screen, and he brings a lot to the set with his writing background and insights."

    Bridges echoed those sentiments: "For 'Grit,' he took this character and just ran off with it. He's a guy that does terrific work and makes good choices, and that's a big thing in the long haul of a career."

    Edited at 2010-12-24 12:34 am (UTC)
    11 comments or Leave a comment