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Matt Damon News Column
Conatgion, Zoo
  • New photos and behind the scenes shots from Contagion are available online, and the official site has also been updated with the production notes. Update: there's also a new article on the film at the New York Times:

  • Matt refused a meeting with Education Secretary Arne Duncan before the Save our Schools rally in Washington. In an interview at the rally Matt was asked whether he wanted to meet with Duncan. Matt answered that Duncan should be meeting teachers and education experts instead.

  • Cameron Crowe discussed why he moved the setting of We Bought A Zoo to California at his official site. The original location in the screenplay was Boston.

    Cameron: The story was set in Boston when I first read Aline’s script, and she really made it sing as a universal story... I also knew a ton of places in “inner” California that felt like my “Dartmoor”… places that felt far removed and would support a struggling zoo. Then we found the Greenfield Ranch location, outside Westlake Village, and we all fell in love with the property.

    Plus, I wanted to work with Matt Damon, and I think he gets things done pretty well with his natural accent… so we started casting American actors, reading with them, setting the story here in California… and the real Benjamin Mee gave us a thumbs up… and that’s a mighty thumbs up. We filmed in “out of the way” California, places that don’t normally turn up in the movies.

  • Update: Crowe talked more about working with Matt in an interview at IFC:

    Crowe: [The film's] mostly about the characters, though. The animals are characters too, but it's mostly the story of this family and how Ben -- Matt Damon -- throws himself Don Quixote-style into an impossible task and saves his family. I just loved the relationships between the characters and the idea of Matt playing a young father.

    I went to meet him on the set of "True Grit." Actually, they never let me near the set of "True Grit." [laughs] Everybody in the hotel was like, "Coen Brothers movie? We can't say anything about that. There's no set. There's no movie." So I waited around the hotel and Matt came back from having filmed this big scene crossing the river. We sat and talked and I immediately knew we had to do this.

    Question: When you were rewriting the screenplay, were you writing it with Matt in mind?

    Crowe: I was halfway through the rewrite when I met Matt. The rest of the way, it was all Matt because I just envisioned him doing this stuff. He's a real family man, but he's a rocking guy too, so I liked the whole idea of how the music would work with him because he's a real music fan. What I thought Matt would do is bring a real reality to it. So often movies about families seem like the domain of people that -- "That's somebody else's home, that's not mine. My childhood wasn't quite like that. That's a movie childhood, that's a movie family." But being an adult and raising children doesn't suddenly mean you can't do all the things you did when you were younger. In fact, you try and balance them. And Matt does that so well as a guy that I knew I could use all the music I wanted to use too.

  • A sighting of Matt in Vancouver with a photo is at the North Shore News. Video of Matt talking to a paparazzi in Vancouver and dismissing any political speculation is at TMZ.

  • There's a fond retrospective of The Talented Mr Ripley at the Huffington Post, including:

    Yet the first hints of a reappraisal came in 2008, when Anthony Minghella died at the untimely age of 54. Virtually every obituary decided that it was The Talented Mr Ripley, rather than The English Patient or Cold Mountain, that was his true legacy to cinema, and indeed since then the film's cool beauty and fierce intelligence have continued to attract admirers.

    Its appeal has grown, and audiences who might once have dismissed 'the gay serial killer film' out of hand have started to reassess it. In an amusing piece of irony, it was originally released on Christmas Day, 1999. A more unusual Christmas present is hard to imagine, but the film's style, black wit and operatic complexity have very much proved themselves to be the gift that keeps on giving.

  • 18 comments or Leave a comment
    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 26th, 2011 12:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Talented Mr. Damon

    Thanks for all the insightful news articles. I have to agree with the writer: The Talented Mr. Ripley is superb!
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 26th, 2011 12:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Talented Mr. Damon

    It's nice to see the movie get a little appreciation. Minghella (and the work he should have completed) is deeply missed.

    Hopefully we'll get at least one group photo with the Contagion cast, but only a few will probably attend the junket and Venice premiere.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 26th, 2011 04:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
    I agree with the comment about The Talented Mr Ripley. To me, it's Minghella's most emotionally affecting film. I have an interview with Minghella in which he spoke about feeling like an outsider and relating to Ripley strongly on that level. He was a poor boy surrounded by the wealthy as a young person and he invests the movie with that abysmal sense of being totally outclassed by people who had advantages you never did wonderfully in the film.

    It's also one of my favorite performances from Matt.
    (Deleted comment)
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 27th, 2011 05:52 am (UTC) (Link)
    He might not be in Vancouver for too much longer, depending on whether the film is on schedule. He's on press duty in LA and Venice for the next week or so, and filming should finish at the end of September.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 27th, 2011 05:50 am (UTC) (Link)

    People item

    Has anyone seen this item before? Was there more to the story (only one page is for sale), and was it from People?

    Matt and Lucy are now in LA. The junket starts tomorrow.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 27th, 2011 09:34 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: People item

    No, I've nver seen this picture or read this item. I think the Anthony Hopkins comment about Matt was fairly recent, so it must date from the last year or two.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 27th, 2011 11:42 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: People item

    Matt was asked about the Hopkins comment promoting Adjustment Bureau on Piers Morgan in February. I'm guessing it's pretty recent, but I'm not sure of the reason for the article.
    loganx2 From: loganx2 Date: August 27th, 2011 11:52 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: People item

    Maybe the pics are from the new photos he took for GQ. I don't read People because it's basically a tabloid so I know how recent it is. Maybe for Contagion I can check to see if it's int he new issue.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 27th, 2011 09:37 am (UTC) (Link)


    Do you know if they are still planning to shoot in Mexico? Given the terribly violent drug cartels, frankly it worries me.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 27th, 2011 11:45 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Mexico

    An actor recently stated they would be filming in Mexico, and it's apparently for about two months. One actor said they would all have bodyguards, but I don't know any further details.

    Another intrustive story from Vancouver, with some pretty inaccurate reporting from Katya (as usual):

    Edited at 2011-08-27 11:45 am (UTC)
    loganx2 From: loganx2 Date: August 27th, 2011 11:49 am (UTC) (Link)
    Another small interview with Cameron about WBAZ, not a lot of new info but...


    and a longer segment from the recent ET Contagion segment....

    loganx2 From: loganx2 Date: August 27th, 2011 05:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
    Apparently Matt and Fishburn and Ehle are the only actors there for the press conference. Lame.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 28th, 2011 12:18 am (UTC) (Link)
    Amazing, isn't it. Matt always does press, and has never wimped out on a film.

    Article at People (nothing new):

    loganx2 From: loganx2 Date: August 28th, 2011 12:22 am (UTC) (Link)
    Jude is doing a play in London so I knew he wouldn't be there. Kate seems to have no interest in promoting the movie since she isn't even doing it in Venice. I saw pics of Marion arriving in LA this week so I don't know why she isn't there and who knows where Paltrow is. It's really sad and I think kinda unprofessional, but that's just my opinion.

    Trailer Addict has put up b roll, interviews and clips.

    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 28th, 2011 12:39 am (UTC) (Link)
    Gwyneth's promoting her cookbook in the Hamptons.

    And a nothing story at USA Today:

    (My computer's sick so I might be out of contact a little.)

    Edited at 2011-08-28 01:05 am (UTC)
    From: (Anonymous) Date: August 28th, 2011 04:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Stars wimping out

    Wow, they don't really look much like team players, do they? Even if Jude's doing a play he can still do press in London. It's not like Matt isn't busy, he's shooting a movie for heaven's sake! Surely they'll at least have a group picture in Venice? Who dropped the ball on that, the producers or the studio?
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 28th, 2011 09:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Stars wimping out

    And it's not like Matt has the largest role. And it gets better - Laurence Fishburne is sick for the Sunday junket day so it's just Matt and Jennifer Ehle for journalists to interview.

    A few photos and links from the junket so far:

    Jake the movie guy interview:

    Photo with Samantha Harris of ET:
    SamanthaHarris: Check out #MattDamon's new shaved head. So nice! Got lowdown on #Contagion, kids and #hurricane #Irene! ... t.co/vSwQDHI •http://www.whosay.com/samanthaharris/photos/61191

    bdkreviews: @ThatKevinSmith talked to Matt Damon abt Hunting Season-started dying laughing making fun of Affleck's frosted hair-said he wants to make it

    sashaperlraver: #MattDamon and I just bonded over #HowardZinn. Just when I thought he couldn't get any cooler.

    skypintro: #MattDamon thought #Contagion needed zombies. So on take 11 of a looting scene, Soderbergh put in one as a joke. If only it were in the film

    Edited at 2011-08-28 09:31 pm (UTC)
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: August 28th, 2011 11:59 am (UTC) (Link)


    Matt attended a Q&A with Contagion screenwriter Scott Z Burns at the Writer's Guild (WGA) on Saturday night.
    18 comments or Leave a comment