On being offered the role in Elysium
Matt: "I had to do whatever it takes and rearrange my life to take this movie.”
Matt: "Gus ended up directing it. We ran a little over on Elysium and just for personal reasons I couldn’t leave my family again right away. I’m also a producer of Promised Land with John Krasinski and we wrote it, we acted in it and produced it. My joke is the producer side of me was really happy the day I fired myself and asked Gus to direct it because we got a world class director and that’s better for the movie. We had a real budget of $18 million, shot it in 30 days and I think it’s really good and I’m really proud of it.
I want to (direct). It’s really about timing at this point. Because with directing, with pre-production and production it’s about a six month chunk give or take and so it’s about managing a way to do that with my life with four little kids at home. I don’t do very well away when I’m away from them actually, I prefer it when we all go on the road together but obviously with school and everything it’s a whole other thing. So a lot of stars have to align in the right way.”
Taking this role, is it that easy? Because you liked what Neill Blomkamp did with "District 9"?
It was that easy for me. When I saw "D9," I was completely on board with him. I really hoped I'd get the chance to work with that guy. Then, soon after that, my agent called and says, "He's got this movie and I don't know anything about it, but he wants to sit down and meet with you. Neill was leery of what he called "Hollywood people." Like, he didn't want to work with anybody who was a movie star.
He has his own group.
Yeah, he has his whole crew.
Like Sharlto Copley.
Yeah, he's got Sharlto. But he came and met me at the diner around the corner from my house in New York. And he was looking at me the whole time, "You're not like what I thought." And I'm like, "What did you expect, dude?" We walked home and he's like, "All right, this doesn't seem so horrible."
What couldn’t you live without?
My wife and kids. My wife, Luciana Barroso, is my soul mate. We have a rule that we never spend more than two weeks apart. We haven’t got beyond a week.
What were you like as a child?
I was an intense kid and did well at school. When I was 14, I wanted to go to the Yale School of Drama to become an actor, though I ended up at Harvard studying English.
A day in the Damon household?
A full sprint from morning till night. The best part is when the children are at school and my wife and I can get a cup of coffee.
Most humbling moment?
A great white shark swam right by me while I was cage-diving in South Africa – it was so exhilarating. At that moment, I realised I was right in the middle of the food chain.
Something we don’t know about?
I never finished my degree at Harvard. Technically, I’m still on an extended leave of absence.
When are you happiest?
When I get home at night; I sit on the couch and all four of my children are with me.
About 100 extras are needed to play fans, medical personnel and likely other parts, casting director Rich King said.
“We're shooting in some of the places where he lived and places he frequented,” King said. Locals “are gonna be used to the heat here, I think. You bring L.A. people out here, they'll pass out.”
Filming in Palm Springs is scheduled for the week of Aug. 20.