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Matt Damon News Column
Zoo promotion, Happy Feet Two reviews
  • Matt will be interviewed on Australian TV show 'Sunday Night' this week (Seven, Sunday at 6.30pm). There's a video preview at the official site.

    The Amazing Matt Damon
    The Oscar-winning star reveals why he'll never get over the death of mate Heath Ledger. Plus, a world exclusive look at his latest movie, We Bought A Zoo. We also meet the man whose life story inspired the film.

  • A photo from the set of Elysium filming around Mexico City is here (spoiler).

  • Happy Feet Two is opening today to mixed reviews. Here's some of the more colorful descriptions from reviews - NY Times, Boston Globe, NY Post and the Boston Herald - some spoilers.

    Although there are foreboding images of melting glaciers (an ecological disaster that traps the colony, spurring a rescue attempt), the movie mostly involves cornball stuff and nonsense, the best of which is voiced and sometimes sung with enthusiasm by two brilliantly orange krill, Will (Brad Pitt) and Bill (Matt Damon), whose dumb and dumber routine approaches Vladimir and Estragon levels of existential dark humor.

    The krill swim away with the movie, though an elephant seal, Bryan the Beachmaster (Richard Carter), or rather his exquisitely animated schnoz (technically his proboscis), has his moments. Truly, the movie could use more of Will and Bill and their adventures beyond the krill swarm.

    Will yearns to be his own crustacean, and Bill yearns to be with Will, a desire that turns their part of the movie into a sweetly amusing bromance. Mostly, the krill allow Mr. Miller to cut loose from the penguins, which he does both in beautiful images of the undulating orange swarm that echo the aurora borealis that transfixes the penguins up on land and in extreme close-ups of Bill and Will that, because the movie was shot in 3D, turn the humble, wee creatures into the approachable heroic colossi they are.

    On top of this, “Happy Feet Two’’ layers the shy Erik’s struggle to find his own talent (believe me, it ain’t what you think; in fact, it’s the movie’s single freakiest curveball); a subsidiary plotline about a wayward Svedish-accented puffin (Hank Azaria) whose ability to fly makes him the penguins’ new guru; and - from way out in left field - two shrimplike krill, Will (Pitt) and Bill (Damon), who escape their fate as whale food and head out to climb the food chain and become predators. The two stars throw themselves wholeheartedly into what anyone over the age of 10 will recognize as a funny, moving tale of same-sex invertebrate romance.

    That isn’t even the leading “Huh?” moment. Repeatedly and tiresomely, we cut away from these tangents within tangents to go completely off-topic for updates on a quarrelsome pair of krill (Matt Damon, Brad Pitt) who speak in witless wordplay and rhymes. They’re named Will and Bill the Krill. Their lines go like this: “There’s no such thing as free, Will,” “Goodbye, krill world” and “One in a krillion.” Their drill is nil and made me ill.

    Perplexingly, things take a turn for the gay: Damon’s krill says he wants to raise kids together, at which point Pitt’s notes that they’re both males, yet Damon thinks this is no big deal and (I’m not making this up) starts suggestively singing a Wham! song, which causes Pitt (not unreasonably) to dump Damon. I’ve got nothing against alternative-lifestyle krill, but what are they doing in my dancing-penguin movie?

    The second half marks an improvement (though my hopes that the krill would wind up sharing a plate with some cocktail sauce never came to pass) because it settles on one story line.

    As a philosophical krill on a voyage of self discovery, Brad Pitt’s performance in “Happy Feet Two,” which he almost single-handedly saves, makes more sense to me than his work in that other 2011 release, the Terrence Malick thumb-sucker “Tree of Life.” “Happy Feet Two” is really “Krill Tree of Life,” a visually daring and splendid quest for knowledge in which the lowly krill ponders his position in the universe as “lunch.” Other than these scenes in which Pitt and friend and colleague Matt Damon play the crustacean “Odd Couple” of the underwater world, Will (Pitt) and Bill (Damon), the film is mostly a bust.

    In scenes involving the aforementioned krills, Will expresses his need to be free of the swarm, and buddy Bill assures him, “There is no such thing as free, Will.”

  • We Bought A Zoo will be previewed on over 800 screens on Thanksgiving. Details are at the Hollywood Reporter.

    Fox decided to hold the sneaks based on the results of test screenings in big cities and America's heartland.

    The studio is partnering with TOUT on a "TOUT Takeover," which will allow those attending the sneaks to post their own reviews of the film (one entrant will win a trip for four to the San Diego Zoo). The social media campaign also will include a live chat with Crowe following the film, and tie-ins with Twitter and Facebook.

    "I think I'm the one getting the early holiday gift," Crowe said. "Holding previews so far ahead of our opening is a bold movie -- but that's one of the many reasons I like it."
  • 16 comments or Leave a comment
    loganx2 From: loganx2 Date: November 18th, 2011 01:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
    Just saw this, but who knows if it's true. If it is it's probably for the VF Hollywood issue.

    MrSethStewart Seth Stewart
    Just did a gig with Joey B, and have to be up at 4am for a Vanity Fair shoot with Anne Lebowitz and Matt Damon... I do it!!
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 18th, 2011 09:35 pm (UTC) (Link)


    Matt's quoted in a holiday movies preview in Parade.


    In We Bought a Zoo Matt Damon plays a widower who moves to the countryside hoping to make a fresh start with his kids. This story of recovery and renewal came under scrutiny after October’s exotic-pet tragedy in Ohio, with PETA calling for a warning on the film against owning wild animals. For his part, Damon tells PARADE, “What happened [in Ohio] was horrific. But our characters—and the real guy, Benjamin—take [operating a zoo] very seriously.”

    Edited at 2011-11-18 09:37 pm (UTC)
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 19th, 2011 09:37 am (UTC) (Link)

    Mexico set photos

    Not sure what date the photos were taken, or if Matt was in NY on Friday.

    Small photos of Matt on the set of Elysium (perhaps the landfill site) in Mexico:


    Edited at 2011-11-19 09:38 am (UTC)
    From: (Anonymous) Date: November 19th, 2011 04:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
    He was spotted filming on Thursday. Didn't see anything about filming on Friday. (unless those pics are from Friday) I think they've been filming at the landfill location all week. Remember a Mexican article couple of wks ago talked about filming on sunday which is tomorrow. This coming week is thanksgiving in the states and I'm guessing he'll be back in NYC. I'm curious if he still has more filming to do after the holiday as I remember him saying he'd have to stay shaved until thanksgiving.

    If for some reason the Sunday night interview is not posted online I'll be fine with a recap. 
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 19th, 2011 05:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
    I don't think the filming in Mexico will finish by Thanksgiving, as tipped by Matt some months ago. Diego Luna said they were filming for six weeks in Mexico and they only started in November. The casting notice also said filming would take place in November and December. They also started two weeks late when Vancouver filming went long.

    Hopefully Matt won't be involved in the entirety of the film shoot as he'll have to start promoting Zoo.

    And I'll certainly give a recap of the show tonight (and encourage others to do so also).

    Edited at 2011-11-19 05:04 pm (UTC)
    From: (Anonymous) Date: November 19th, 2011 06:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
    Oh yes I realize filming won't be done by thanksgiving but what I meant was I wonder if Matt will be done filming. But since they did get a late start in Mexico he might have a little more left to do.
    Hopefully it does end soon b/c I'm looking forward to all the zoo press.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 20th, 2011 07:22 am (UTC) (Link)


    Cast member Adrian Holmes reported this today:

    AdrianHolmesAdrian Holmes
    That's a wrap on 2nd unit! #Simons the bomb! Literally went out w a bang today! ;)) #Elysium

    So it could be finishing up earlier than expected (Simon Raby is the 2nd Unit Director).

    Edited at 2011-11-20 09:32 am (UTC)
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 20th, 2011 08:04 am (UTC) (Link)

    Sunday Night interview

    Lovely interview, but it was pretty deceptive. There was nothing about 'Heath's final days', or Matt's secret about Heath. Just Matt saying that Heath was the best actor he's ever worked with and a very special guy.

    Full quote:
    Hollywood star Matt Damon, right, has opened up about how much he is still haunted by the death of Perth actor Heath Ledger.
    The pair had starred together in 2005’s The Brothers Grimm and were close friends right up to Ledger’s death in 2008.
    “It’s not something I’ll ever get over and nor anyone who knew him could ever get over,” Damon told Seven’s Sunday Night.
    “He was a really special guy... it just felt like his light was just too bright for this place.”
    Damon also paid tribute to Ledger as an actor.
    “I’m not being hyperbolic by saying this but he was the best actor I ever worked with.”

    An additional clip is also available on the website. (Related Twitter posts are on #SN7).

    There was video of Rahni (the interviewer) meeting Ben Mee at Dartmoor Zoo and shots of the animals, video of Matt and Ben meeting on set, and some good clips from the film. The kid playing Rosie is adorable, and amazingly looks a lot like Ben Mee's daughter.

    Other things: Matt talking about the fleeting nature of fame (still), meeting Lucy, occasionally needing to take a walk around the park to take time away from his family, and how fame should not define your life. Matt also talks about questioning whether it was inappropriate to do the Sarah Silverman video, but when the teachers at his daughter's school said how much they liked it, he realised you could still be a parent and have a sense of humor.

    Any other comments? It's interesting that Matt said that he would like to play an Australian, rather than say he would like to come to Australia to film (I know he's said before it's too far away from family for a long shoot).

    Edited at 2011-11-20 09:31 am (UTC)
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 20th, 2011 10:23 am (UTC) (Link)

    Sunday Night interview

    The full video is available at this link:


    Yes, Matt Damon really, really, really was that nice. I just posted a story too long to make it to air, that shows how he really sees fame.

    Edited at 2011-11-20 10:33 am (UTC)
    From: (Anonymous) Date: November 20th, 2011 07:36 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Sunday Night interview

    Thanks so much for posting the interview. A really good one, and Matt is looking great - never a bad thing to see!
    From: (Anonymous) Date: November 20th, 2011 01:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Happy Feet 2 Reviews

    Thanks for posting the reviews, I don't think I am going to enjoy this movie, I didn't enjoy the first one very much and 2 sounds even worse. I hate films that preach and it reads to me as preachy and sanctimonious. 'There's no such thing as free, Will' ugh!

    I am looking forward to We Bought a Zoo, if Cameron Crowe gets it right and avoids too much sentimentality it should be very good.

    Currently reading True Grit, loved the film so much I bought the book, never read it before and I would highly recommend. Fantastic, and the movie version with Matt blows the original with John Wayne out of the water. Jeff Bridges is a better fit as Rooster Cogburn (a far better actor by miles) and Matt as the vain and overly proud of being a Texas ranger La Beouf is perfectly cast, the entire cast were perfect. The Coen Brothers did a fantastic job. Marcia
    loganx2 From: loganx2 Date: November 20th, 2011 01:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
    Thanks for the link to the interview. It's interesting reading twitter comments about it and how they think Matt came off better than Brad in a recent interview. Was the interview that bad? was Brad an ass?

    At the end of the interview they said there was behind the scene footage but I couldn't find it on the website.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 20th, 2011 08:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
    I didn't watch the interview with Brad on 60 Minutes (that was where he said he would be retiring in three years, which he recanted in the next interview he did).

    This was the extra footage on the site (linked above) - Matt talking about the fans waiting at the airport after the Oscar win:

    From: (Anonymous) Date: November 20th, 2011 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Picture Above

    Dont Matt and Brad look cute in that photo above, love the big eyes
    From: (Anonymous) Date: November 20th, 2011 06:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
    Thank you so much for the link. They really did build up the Heath thing. I think it was funny when she introduced herself he was like hi rahni I'm Matt as if that was necessary. ( but always polite) Also funny that he admits he takes a walk by himself to get away for a little bit.

    I also saw the tweet about 2nd unit wrapping on Elysium. Not familiar with how a film films but I have heard of 1st unit & 2nd unit. Thanks again
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 21st, 2011 01:11 am (UTC) (Link)
    Normally the second unit works separately to the main unit with different/lesser actors, perhaps working on particular sequences eg action scenes. If second unit has wrapped, it's a good indication (but not always) that first unit should be wrapping soon.
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