'Matt’s in a group of really impressive actors – Brad, George, Matt and Ben – willing to take chances. It surprised me – in a good way.’ He cracks a few jokes about chapstick and body waxing.
‘Matt got a bit too obsessed – there was one point I was getting worried about him. Matt says when he kissed me, he thought of Catherine. She was very pleased by that.’
So who did he think of? He pauses and sounds ever so slightly hurt: ‘I thought of Matt. There was a tenderness about him. The way he kissed.’
You’ve worked with Matt Damon a number of times. Do you tend to think of him when you’ve got a role for someone his age?
SODERBERGH: I feel lucky that we’ve been able to find projects that at least in two cases that we’ve been able to find, this and Mark Whitacre in THE INFORMANT!, really great roles for a young actor and Matt’s commitment to what was required – as Michael said, he told me during the shoot [of BEHIND THE CANDELABRA], he realized, “Oh, Matt’s the same age now as I was when I did FATAL ATTRACTION. There is no universe I ever would have gotten anywhere near anything like this when I was at that point in my career.” He really admired Matt’s willingness to just do it.
But with gay marriage legal in a number of states now, which wasn’t the case when Michael Douglas was that age. Isn’t there sort of a change in the universe?
SODERBERGH: Possibly, but I think Michael’s point was that, at that stage in his life, in his career, he was I think more protective of his image as an actor than Matt is right now.
He further divulges that in his villa were also filmed scenes that ultimately did not make it in the HBO film. "They filmed much harder sex scenes, which have now been cut from the film, for example, in the pool and hot tub."
People are comparing this movie to “Ocean’s Eleven.” Who do you match up with in that movie?
I think it’s the Matt Damon character. If I remember correctly, he’s like somewhat of the newcomer and he has to prove himself and find his place in the group, and that seems right in line with my character in the movie.
How do you compare to Matt Damon?
Not well. Actually, he’s one of these guys who I actually really do look up to in the sense that he can go from doing a big comedy to an independent comedy to this action franchise [and] serious dramas. He kind of does it all and you really believe him … I’m not the audience for this movie, but in “We Bought a Zoo,” you even watch him in that and he’s so grounded. It’s like he can do no wrong in my book.
Given that Matt Damon is an exceptionally busy man -- a father, a husband, a son, a brother, a political activist, a friend and a humorist who pops on TV doing hilarious skits-- it's lucky for us that he still has the energy to come out onto the big screen and play with us, his audience. Damon is currently starring with Michael Douglas in Steven Soderbergh's Behind the Candelabra. In Elysium, coming soon, he puts his skills at the service of another nervy auteur, Neill Blomkamp, who minces no words about the near future. Further afield, in December, Damon will align with George Clooney in The Monuments Men. His big escape? Inwards, of course. "When I go home, close the door. When I am with my kids. All that is great", he told us.