New York Post
When’s the last time you talked to Paul about it [Bourne]?
Oh, two weeks ago. We talk a lot. We’re always looking for stuff to do together, and Bourne comes up every time we talk. We’ve held out at this point because we didn’t have it and we’re not going to go until we have a script. I talked to Jonah Nolan [director Chris’ brother] about it, because he did such a great job with the Batman mythology. He’s a friend, and he really took a hard charge at it and couldn’t crack it, so that said a lot.
Speaking of Batman, have you ever been offered a superhero role?
I got offered “Daredevil” way back when. That was the comic Ben and I read growing up. But the script wasn’t there, and then Ben did it, and I was like, “Dude, why are you doing this movie?” Ben, being the perennial optimist, explained the eight things that needed to happen to fix the script, and he was, of course, right. But he wasn’t the director. Although the movie was very successful, it wasn’t the movie he wanted to make.
What’s your vote for Best Picture this year?
There’s a bunch I haven’t seen. I haven’t seen “Silver Linings Playbook” or “Zero Dark Thirty.” I’ve been remiss, and my screeners haven’t come in, and I have four little kids, man, so I don’t go to the movies much. There are years that I don’t vote because I don’t see everything, so I’m diligent about that.
Q: Does that mean you have to wait until all your kids are in school before you direct a film?
Damon: I could take them (on location). We could go on an adventure together somewhere. Originally, this was supposed to be shot in New York. But then as we started really looking at (logistics) and realized we were going to have to either go upstate or to Pennsylvania. So I would have been 12 weeks away (from home) in pre-production, plus six or seven weeks shooting. That was too much time.
Q: Speaking of your family, your wife, Luciana, is from Argentina. Do your children speak Spanish?
Damon: Yeah. My 2-year-old is bilingual. My 4-year-old is not. We’ve been reading about how to do (teach bilingualism) but, so far, we’ve been hit or miss. Now, we’re rigorous with our 2-year-old.
Q: Do you speak Spanish?
Damon: A little bit. I keep dreaming that (Spanish director) Pedro Almodovar or (Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez) Inarritu will give me a job so I can go to a Spanish-speaking country and we can bring the kids. My wife, Lucy, is truly bilingual. The kids hear a lot of Spanish around the house.
You also recently finished "Elysium," a macho sci-fi flick in which you return to the action scene. How much longer do you think you can continue kicking cinematic butt?
If I look at the role and I can believe myself in it, I'll go for it. Bruce Willis is still pulling it off. Tom Cruise is 50, and looks 30. It's more a question of how I take care of myself. I'm 42 now; I figure I have some time.
I'm assuming in your personal life you aren't excessively macho, especially because you live with five women -- your wife (Luciana Barroso), your three daughters, and your wife's daughter from a previous marriage. What's that like?
It's the full spectrum of experiences from the greatest joy, to sometimes I want to go out the window. Girls engage with the world so differently. The good thing about New York is the parks, and you can go for a walk by yourself.
Collider: When you got an email from Matt Damon saying, “Will you read this script?,” did you have any hesitation about signing on to direct, or would you have said yes regardless?
GUS VAN SANT: I have said no to other projects that Matt sent me. The thing about this one was that he had a hand in writing it, so I knew that it was probably something that I would like. Casey Affleck has actually written a few scripts that are always very, very human, very heartfelt stories. Matt, Ben and Casey all have similarities, in what they think is a movie. I don’t know where they got that. But, I knew it was going to be something similar to those other screenplays that I was used to reading. I almost didn’t hesitate, but then I thought, “Well, I better make sure.” But, it was great.
Are there friends or family whose opinions you always ask for?
VAN SANT: I show it to friends, yeah. In the case of this, I was very interested to hear what some fellow filmmakers thought. I know that they’re different filmmakers from myself, so they have different ideas. They’re interpreting it through their own thing, so I don’t take it verbatim. It’s their perception. Sometimes you have a specific question and you ask filmmakers, and their answers are very much them. We asked Cameron Crowe and Steven Soderbergh a question. Cameron’s answer was very Cameron Crowe. Soderbergh’s answer was very much as if it were a Soderbergh movie. So, then you go, “Okay, that’s what they would do. What would I do?” And in the end, you go, “Well, I should just do what I would do.” Unless you’re aiming for something very specific, your questions aren’t necessarily answerable. Sometimes you just want to know, “Did you understand that that guy was her brother?” And if they go, “I didn’t know that. That makes the story completely different,” that’s because you’re not explaining things clearly. Specific things are one thing. If you ask, “Artistically, should we have this one scene in the movie?,” people will come up with all kinds of answers with completely different reasons behind them.