Question: John, can you talk about the project that you were working on with Matt Damon, that he was going to direct but now Gus Van Sant is going to direct?
John Krasinski: As far as my brain has been able to process it, it’s a pretty incredibly exciting thing. I had this idea for a script, and worked on it a little bit with Dave Eggers, who came up with the story and actually wrote a first draft of a script with me. And then, I brought it to Matt, who wanted to direct, immediately. The script fell apart because of an issue that was happening, at the time, that wasn’t going to be a strong enough issue later on, so we had to re-write the script. He’s been an incredible friend and collaborator on the whole thing.
But then, just before Christmas, he realized that [it wasn’t going to work out]. It’s very similar to doing three or four movies over five years, and then having them all come out in the same year. Everyone believes that you shot them all last year. It’s the same thing with booking movies, I would assume. I’ve never been that in demand. But with Matt Damon, a lot of things that he had agreed to, all of a sudden, everybody was calling him and saying, “The only time we can do it is here.” And, he looked at his schedule and there was just no way to do everything. He’s a very, very talented guy, and an incredibly smart guy. He takes it really seriously, and he didn’t want his first opportunity to direct to be hindered, in any way, shape or form.
So, it really was purely scheduling. He’s doing Liberace (with Michael Douglas) in June. He would have had to shoot our movie, go shoot another movie, and then come back and edit, and that’s just not the way you want to do your first movie. And so, I was incredibly bummed, to say the least. It was a very hard night. He called me around 7:30. And then, I remember at 1:30 the next day, he called again and was like, “So, Gus Van Sant is doing our movie?,” and I flipped out.
I think Gus is one of the most talented directors there is, or ever has been. He’s an incredible storyteller, and for our movie, in particular, he’s going to be unbelievable. So, I’m thrilled. I’m really, really thrilled. It’s my first original script. I adapted a screenplay, which is very, very different because that was all David Foster Wallace. But, this is my first script, so to have this experience, I should just call it quits after this.
How soon will that go?
Krasinski: It’s going to go in April. It’s pretty exciting.
CS: You've also worked a lot with Matt Damon, who writes, and George who both writes and directs, so is that something preferable in an actor you're collaborating with?
Soderbergh: No, it's a huge benefit. I mean, Scott would be the first to tell you. In a couple of cases in "Contagion" we'd have a scene that he and Matt and I would sort of re-tool on the set based on what we were thinking that day. To have someone like Matt who's not looking at it from the point of view of, "I'm the movie star," but who's someone who has written and is very sort of savvy about how movies work and how narrative works. It's great to have that person in the conversation to be able to talk about the movie on a macro level and not just the thing that we're doing right now. That's just a huge plus for a filmmaker. I mean, he's very bright.
CS: I've talked to a lot of filmmakers who've worked with him now, who will vouch for Matt's contributions as a collaborator.
Soderbergh: Yeah, he understands that stuff. It's something he thinks about a lot, and his instincts are good. My opinion is if you can get him, you should get him.