"I think that the moviegoing public hasn't even seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of what John can do," says Damon. He's got a whole range. He's just so good a t comedy that I think he gets put there a lot. But I think he can do anything."
Focus is trying to get the word out within the industry. So before even showing it to most of the press they began an early “influencer” campaign that has featured private screenings and receptions at the plush theatre inside L.A.’s Soho House. Tuesday night Cameron Crowe held one with guests including Meryl Streep, Sam Mendes, Colin Firth, Kate Hudson, Ben Affleck (coming over after getting his GQ man of the year award) and other academy voters who were able to mingle with star and co-writer (with John Krasinski) Matt Damon. Earlier in November Aaron Sorkin hosted a similar screening that drew Demi Moore, Jennifer Aniston and SAG President Ken Howard among others.
In terms of additionally putting an awards spotlight on the film that critics are just starting to see is a Matt Damon tribute at the November 26th Gotham Independent Film Awards in NYC with the entire cast in attendance. LA and NY premieres will be held first week of December in order to be a key part of the conversation. “The reaction so far has been tremendous,” Schamus told me and he was clearly proud enough of the film to move it into awards season despite the tight post-production schedule. Obviously the company will also be blanketing the town with DVD screeners very soon too.
At last weekend’s Deadline Contenders event where Focus debuted the first look at a scene from the film, Van Sant revealed he only came on board 11 months ago when Damon decided he didn’t have time to direct it himself as originally planned and turned to his Good Will Hunting (1997) director to step in. He said Krasinski, who also co-stars, kept writing even as the cameras rolled while Damon mostly stuck to acting. He is first-rate in the lead role of a corporate salesman who comes to a small town to get the economically-challenged citizens to accept an offer for drilling rights to their properties.
Also standing out are Frances McDormand as his co-hort and Hal Holbrook, very touching in just a couple of potent scenes. Focus’ desire to get the film out there is not a bad idea considering some of the blowback from corporations already labeling its treatment of fracking (the lingo for the drilling practice) as the stuff of liberal-minded Hollywood. Schamus bristles at that, pointing out that none of these corporate entities have even seen the movie they are trying to attack.
"When I turned 40, I realised, and said to my whole family and friends, that I think, but I'm not sure, but I think that I might be the luckiest person on planet Earth. I can make a good argument... I have an amazing family, wife, kids... work experiences are just great. I learn more, I'm comfortable, I'm more relaxed now. I let it come to me, I don't push it as much. I don't have butterflies anymore. It's just fun, it's really fun and I feel full."