Damon said, “I just love the whole process of filmmaking and talking to actors and because I’m writer also, I get to collaborate with these directors that I work with and I really enjoy the other side of the camera. I’m in front of the camera in the first one I’m directing. It turns out if you write, direct and act for free, you can get pretty good creative terms for your movie.”
He says, "I feel like there is more riding on this one then there will be on the second one that I direct because you only kind of get one chance to make a first impression, so that I think about a little bit, but again those aren’t thoughts that are necessarily helpful or that will make for a better movie.”
“All these movies are going to be out there cannibalizing each other,” says Damon. “I feel pretty good about this one because I feel like we kind of occupy a space that those other ones don’t. I don’t think Christmas Day you’re going to want to take your 13-year-old to see ‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.’ Now Christmas night, I'll go to ‘Dragon Tattoo’ after I put the kids down. I literally can’t wait for the movie.
“We’ll all find the audience we deserve — I hope.”
Q. What girly things do you do with your daughters?
Matt. There’s a lot of dressing up and princess playing. I talked to Jeff Bridges and his wife about it. Jeff has three daughters and said, “You gotta dive in like me. I always end up with mascara on my face.” As for me, I just let myself go and be a guinea pig.
Q. You’re a diehard Boston sports fan. What do you think of the Cubs getting Theo Epstein? Any advice?
A. Chicago fans, let me just say this to you. I’m genuinely rooting for the Cubs to win the World Series. I really hope Theo does it there. He’s great and a totally classy guy. We already miss him in Boston, but we share the hope in Boston that the guy who gave our city so much does the same in Chicago.
Q: Matt Damon is really good in it.
A: He's so good. He's such a good writer. There was a real collaboration with him as we were making the movie on script stuff and dialogue. It was the strongest collaborator I've had in that way.
Q: Do you think he's underrated as an actor?
A: He's way underrated. Matt's more of the Jimmy Stewart guy. The template for that guy -- or Cary Grant -- is they make it so invisible that you don't go, "Anthony Hopkins? Matt Damon." You should, 'cause that stuff is so hard. What he does in the movie, I think, is as hard as it ever gets as an actor -- to be light when you need to be and then warm when you need to be and then be completely internal ... and arguing with his son. That was a moment when Matt stepped away from the camera and I was kind of blown away that there was an extra dimension that we had gone to with the scene. And Matt said, "Well, I haven't done that in a movie before."
That might have been one of the top three proudest moments I've ever had as a director. Because you look at Matt, he's totally an energetic guy, but you look at his body of work and it's like, long. So for him to say he went to a new place is great. But he's so good at it, he makes it look like it's the easiest tennis swing. It's that thing. It's the hardest thing.
The cynics will scoff and dismiss it all as manipulative, the heartstring-tugging machine on hyperdrive. But this movie isn't for them; did you not see the PG? It's a sweet, sincere, utterly affable kids' movie about how parents are all kinds of screwed up and unable to tell their kids what they want or show them how they feel. The scene in which Benjamin and Dylan have their hallway shout-off ("Help me, damn it! Help me!") is as wrenching as it is inevitable. And Damon has never been more lovable—the guy looks like he could use a hug.