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Hollywood Reporter cover story
  • There's a feature article on We Bought A Zoo at the Hollywood Reporter. Cameron Crowe discusses his career and the origins of Zoo, praises Matt, and includes the original playlist of songs he sent Matt to introduce him to the film.

    Crowe traveled to the set of the Coen brothers' True Grit in Austin and presented Damon with a script, a CD of songs that he'd burned and a copy of Local Hero -- a perfect little 1983 movie in which Peter Riegert played an oil-company executive sent to buy a remote village in Scotland, to woo him for Zoo.

    "My instructions were to not just read the script and make a decision," Damon says. Crowe had brought all the tools in his kit -- music, film and words -- not only to convey what he had in mind for this movie but to envelop Damon in the world he meant to create. "He said: 'I know what you're going to be afraid of; the bad version of this movie is really a movie you don't want to be in. That's what I'm afraid of too,'" Damon says.

    And that told Damon two things: that Crowe wanted to avoid making the bad movie and that he intended to fight against it with Damon as his brother-in-arms. Crowe was right: Damon didn't want to make what he calls "the Disney version" of the story about a grieving widower with two children who makes the unlikely decision to buy and restore a dilapidated zoo.

    "It might be popular, but it wouldn't be something that I'd be proud to be a part of," Damon says. As he listened to Crowe's music on a run through Central Park, though, he got a very different vibe. "There were all these songs I know but live versions that he got from sound boards," Damon says. "A song like, 'I'm Open' by Eddie Vedder -- he gave me a particularly moving version that I've never heard. I kind of finished that run and went, 'That's a really good feeling.'"
    Then Damon watched Local Hero and found it to be "a masterpiece."

    Still, Crowe, 54, hadn't directed a feature since the poorly received Elizabethtown in 2005. Damon says he wasn't thinking about that film but rather about Crowe's 1996 hit Jerry Maguire. "I kept coming back to, this is the guy who did, 'You complete me,' " Damon says. "This is a guy who could aim for that small bull's-eye and hit it."

    So he signed on to do We Bought a Zoo, happily succumbing like many before him to the delights of a Cameron Crowe seduction.

    As for Crowe, he says it was the other way around. Fox was imagining a shortlist of candidates for the lead, but Crowe says it was all over for him halfway through his meeting with Damon. What lured him was the actor's obvious appetite to play the emotion in the film.

    "He's, like, wide open to a thrilling new peak and searching for it," Crowe says. "There's nothing, 'Kid, this is how we did it with Clint' about it." So "it was purely him seducing me because halfway through our meeting, I was like, 'I can't do this without Matt Damon.' And I declared it."

    For Crowe, the tactic produced the performance that he had to have. "What Matt does in the movie is that rarest of things: comedy and drama and real emotion," he says. "The list of people who can do that is the shortest list in acting, and it's the easiest thing to miss because he makes it look effortless. But it's not. It's the toughest. And for me, it makes the movie."
  • 13 comments or Leave a comment
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 22nd, 2011 11:11 am (UTC) (Link)


    Copying my comment from yesterday - I'm not including any coverage of the event Matt attended with Elysium cast and crew in Mexico City on Sunday. Any comments relating to this will be deleted.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: November 22nd, 2011 04:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Comments

    Shouldn't the GQ interview be coming out next month? I'm keeping an eye for it but unfortunately won't be able to scan it. Hopefully somebody will be able to do it but I'll be glad to summarize it. Also I think today is last day of filming for Elysium befor breaking for thanksgiving so I'm guessing Matt will be back in NYC tomorrow. Hopefully he doesn't have too much left or he's done.

    Keep up the good work. 
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 22nd, 2011 09:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Comments

    It's the January issue, so it won't be out for another few weeks. Matt may already be back in the US (a few sightings late yesterday).
    From: (Anonymous) Date: November 22nd, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Comments

    I just saw a few tweets indicating he's in Mexico still. It appears he gave an interview in Spanish. Being praised for speaking it so well. He always seems to deny he speaks it well but I've heard the opposite.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 22nd, 2011 11:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Comments

    Thanks for that - I'm kind of ignoring Twitter at the moment.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: November 23rd, 2011 02:21 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Comments

    Just wanted to clarify that the interview appears to have been conducted in recent days and he seems to confirm he's there for 6 wks. (this is coming from a recap someone on twitter gave) I would imagine they would take the couple of wks already worked so should be less than 6 wks left.
    But still he was spotted in Mexico today.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 23rd, 2011 04:24 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Comments

    The interview was from Sunday (that I saw). Diega Luna also said they were filming in Mexico for six weeks. As they started in Mexico on 1 November it would appear to fit with the film being about two weeks behind the original schedule.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 23rd, 2011 07:22 am (UTC) (Link)

    TV ads

    Here's the first TV ad for "We Bought A Zoo" promoting the early screening this Saturday:


    And an almost complete playlist of the songs Cameron Crowe gave to Matt when considering the film:


    Edited at 2011-11-23 07:27 am (UTC)
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 24th, 2011 01:58 am (UTC) (Link)


    Possible sighting of Matt in the VIP area of the Black Eyed Peas concert at Miami's Sunlife Stadium.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: November 24th, 2011 02:58 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Miami?

    There are several artists performing at this concert but it's black eyed peas last concert; they are going on an indefinite hiatus. Anyway just saw another tweet from someone at concert mentioning speaking to Matt & Lucy. I hope we get some pics.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 24th, 2011 07:46 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Miami?

    Paparazzi pics in Miami are pretty rare.

    Here's the first clip from Zoo:

    From: (Anonymous) Date: November 24th, 2011 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Miami?

    Being it's their last concert for a while it should get a decent amount of press. At the very least Matt would get a mention. It would be nice to see a pic but I don't wish the paps on them.

    Happy thanksgiving to whoever is celebrating today.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 24th, 2011 08:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Miami?

    There were lots of the concert but none of the attendees (that I've seen).
    13 comments or Leave a comment