Eventually, the conversation segued toward Thursday's first day of school -- and Damon says he's thrilled to take the kids to the door personally. "I love it. I used to walk to school as a kid; I just love that part of it. We have a 7th grader starting a new school, and my kindergartener is really excited because she's going back to school and seeing her friends."
CS: I want to ask about working with Matt because obviously you've worked with him a few times, and I've spoken with other filmmakers who've worked with him before. They all rave about him as a collaborator. Charles Ferguson said that pretty much wrote the last line of his movie "Inside Job" while doing voiceover, so I'm curious about how you collaborate with Matt when it comes to the dialogue in this.
Burns: Well, it's great for me. Because Matt is a writer and has such a great feel for language, it works two ways. One, it's more fun for me to write for him because I can hear his voice while I'm writing, so I think that may help me write better, but also, if there's something that isn't working, he'll come to me in the morning because we have a kind of relationship where he'll come to me in the morning and go, "Let's go sit in my trailer and talk about this scene."
We'll work on a scene together and then when we're happy with it, we'll go and talk to Steven about it. People in Hollywood would go, "So Steven actually lets you talk to Matt? How can that be?" The great thing about working with Steven is that he doesn't really stand on ceremony and everyone is very respectful of each other and he does feel collaborative. When Matt and I come to him it's like, "Hey, we thought this might be better." Steven sometimes will go, "You're right. That is better. Let's do that." Or he'll say, "Nah, that's not better. Let's do it the way we talked about it." It isn't about whose name is higher than whose on the call sheet. It's about the work that day and what makes the best scene.
Despite the tedium, he enjoyed the experience. He especially liked working with Damon.
“He’s the nicest guy you can possibly imagine. Normal. Down to earth. Easy to talk with. He’s like a dad. Just a great guy all around,” O’Donnell said.
Damon sometimes offered advice or praise, saying, “Dude, that was awesome” after a good delivery, O’Donnell said.
Gene O’Donnell was impressed by Damon, who “made a point of eating lunch with different people each day,” he said.
Damon, a big Boston Bruins fan, even invited Gene O’Donnell to watch a Stanley Cup Final game while waiting between scenes.
A decade and a half after he burst into public consciousness with one of the most obnoxious debuts of modern times, Matt Damon has quietly, almost underneath the radar, transformed himself into one of the most effective actors of our day. While others of his generation have soaked up the acclaim and the trophies, Damon has turned in a string of flawless performances that have suddenly turned him into the archetype for a new breed of screen masculinity.
But in film after film, Matt Damon has shown audiences how to do what seems almost impossible in today’s culture: to be a decent person, striving for goodness without goodness demanding attention for itself.