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Matt Damon News Column
Great Wall, Downsizing
  • Matt now seems to be confirmed for the Great Wall project as he has been practicing horse archery in Budapest with proponent Lajos Kassai. Details here or here. Matt is currently filming The Martian in Budapest.

    The world-famous Hollywood actor visited the Hungarian capital yesterday for what is believed to be an instant visit to practice horse archery with a Hungarian master. He is expected to return regularly for coaching he requires to play in his new Hollywood blockbuster, “The Great Wall”.

    The 45-year-old American actor is preparing for his role in the film “The Great Wall”, on the construction of the world-famous ancient structure in China, as a mounted archer.

    Hungarian Lajos Kassai, who is an internationally acclaimed master of the sport, was commissioned to draft action scenes and to oversee the preparation of the protagonist for the role. Mr. Kassai shared a picture of himself with the actor on his Facebook page, adding that the work has begun and praising Matt’s exceptional talent and quick learning skills.

    45-year-old Mr. Kassai, who is acclaimed for establishing the rules of horse archery as a sport and has won all competitions in the sport so far, holds five Guinness world records to his name and is the only person to be able to practice horse archery for 24 continuous hours.

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  • More details about Downsizing are at Deadline, including news that it will film in early 2016 with Matt, Reese Witherspoon, Alec Baldwin, Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Sudeikis.

  • Frank Marshall has confirmed that Matt and Jeremy Renner will not meet up in the next Bourne.

  • A new interview with Matt and Gary White to discuss water.org a year after their visit to Davos is at USA Today.

  • An article with Matt's mother Nancy Carlsson-Paige is at American Stories Continuum, including:

    When did your son Matt [Damon], decide to be publicly vocal about education?
    Nancy: He and his brother Kyle have always valued the education they got in Cambridge, and when it came time for that first SOS March [Save Our Schools, Washington DC, July 30, 2011], some of the leaders approached me to ask if he would speak. I have a long term agreement with Matt that I don’t ask him for anything, because it interferes, it really does interfere with the mother-son relationship we have. If I start asking him for things, then he starts feeling that he’s got to give me some kind of an answer that I want, and that I have a certain expectation. We just started to see very early on that it wouldn’t be healthy for us, for me to ask him for things. So it was breaking my own law to ask him to do that; I cared that much.

    I was getting pressure for sure from people in Save Our Schools, but I thought they were right, that nobody would pay attention, unless you had a big name there. And I think it was probably true. I knew all that was true. So I decided it was worth it. It turned out that it was okay, but it was not an easy thing to go through with us in terms of our relationship, and I’ve never done it again because it came too close to the things I’d always feared, that he would start feeling conflicted about going.

    He cared about those [education] issues so much, but he was making a film in Vancouver; he had three daughters and Lucy, his wife, was pregnant. And one of the girls was very sick. And it was right at the time he was supposed to shoot all day. I don’t know if you know how hard people who make films work, but it’s unbelievable. They’re sometimes shooting twelve hours, fourteen hours, sixteen hours, it’s ridiculous. And then he was going to get on an overnight flight — there was not a direct flight — and he was going to have to fly from Vancouver to get there to speak that next morning, and it was crazy. I finally said, You know what? This is too much for you, Mathew. As his mother, I said, This is too much. We’re going to tell them you can’t be there. You’re not getting any sleep, one of your kids is sick, you’re shooting all day and you’re going to have to be up half the night. It’s not right. I’m going to tell them you can’t come.

    And then later he called me. I was already there [at the conference]. And he said, “I’m going to come. I’ve decided; Lucy and I decided together, and I’m going to come.” He said, “So I wrote a speech. Will you listen and tell me if it’s okay?” I sat on this bench [outside the conference] and listened to that speech, and it just made me cry. I couldn’t believe he wrote it. He says, “Is this okay or should I change it?” I’m like, “Are you kidding me? That’s the most beautiful speech, don’t change a word of it.” Somebody came up to me after the march and said, “I just want to know one thing. Did he write that?” That’s how well he knows education. He wrote that whole thing.

    He was very glad that he did that. SOS was a very moving and powerful experience for him, and he was really glad, he felt he made the right decision. I don’t think he’s ever spoken at a political rally before. And I saw his face; I think when he got up there and saw that crowd and realized that what he was saying was important to them.

    This sounds like kind of a turning point.
    Yeah, it was. It was really significant. It turns out, looking back, that it was a very significant experience and one that happened in a very beautiful and right way. Whenever I get together with Matt, which is often, we talk education. He cares enormously about what’s happening, and he understands what’s happening. He’s all in now on his own.

    I think he got in touch with what it means to be an activist, for the first time. Because you can’t quite describe the energy of activism until you experience it. But if you’re an activist or you’ve been in activist situations, it’s very powerful and transformative. You get the feeling that change is possible and you’re part of it. It was very powerful for me and for him.
  • 19 comments or Leave a comment
    From: cindiest Date: January 21st, 2015 09:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
    Beautiful. Matt and his family are good people. Top notch.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: January 22nd, 2015 03:22 am (UTC) (Link)
    It was a sweet story and she's never shared that much before.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: January 22nd, 2015 04:30 am (UTC) (Link)


    Lovely thoughts, beautifully expressed. I've read one of her books on child rearing and it had so much knowledge and sound advice to offer.
    4mattdamon From: 4mattdamon Date: January 22nd, 2015 06:26 am (UTC) (Link)

    Invictus / Bourne Legacy

    I recently re-watched INVICTUS since I haven't seen it since I saw it the 2 times in the theater. Although I still like the message of the movie and the tone, I had forgotten how little Matt does/speaks in the film. Although his character's role is integral to the teams effort, other than a tea with Mandela, a vista to Robben Island, and rallying his team to victory in the end, Matt really doesn't speak a whole lot. I find it interesting that he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor. I realize he portrayed a real person, but I feel like he's done more "heavy lifting" in other roles. Thoughts?

    Also, I re-watched BOURNE LEGACY. I liked it in the theater, and I think it's because I like the world of Bourne and the genre; however, in comparison to the drama and emotional laden trilogy, it lacks. I'm stating the obvious, but I got bored during the chase sequence and just felt like the story pieces were put together just so, so that we are patronizingly led on an adrenaline infused goose chase that leads to a disappointing build up.
    There is no real investment in Aaron Cross, other than drug enhancement, and that he's the victim of a larger covert operation. I think the only interesting plot point of the film is that once Bourne has gone rogue, they panic and decide to take out all the other now advanced operatives including Cross. But this was Pamela Landy's whole argument in Supremacy and Ultimatum not to KILL for the sake of killing. Here it's hunting day at any cost and no one questions it. My favorite scene(s) are the ones with Renner and Oscar Isaac in the cabin actually talking. The film feels a "bit" shortchanged. Thoughts?


    Edited at 2015-01-22 06:27 am (UTC)
    From: (Anonymous) Date: January 22nd, 2015 10:34 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Invictus / Bourne Legacy

    I hated The Bourne Legacy, it was a terrible movie.
    From: cindiest Date: January 22nd, 2015 06:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Invictus / Bourne Legacy

    Invictus: I think the nod was a. for the importance of the movie/theme; b. matt changed his body/appearance and his voice and posture--they like that; c. often nominees are based on the fact that there are other nom-worthy performances by the actor.

    Bourne Legacy: a decent movie as far the genre goes. Doesn't transcend the genre and doesn't come near the Bourne trilogy. The Bourne movies were a game changer. As you and i and all us fans know, we wouldn't have the reinvented Bond nor Batman without Bourne. The Bourne Legacy is just an action movie. Nothing more.

    P.S. This is fun to discuss. Thanks for inviting the conversation.
    4mattdamon From: 4mattdamon Date: January 22nd, 2015 10:01 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Invictus / Bourne Legacy

    Agreed! Interesting points you bring up for sure. Fingers crossed on the new Bourne.
    Talented Ripley by far clearly overlooked for the greatness it is. I hope Matt does more movies like this where he can really play a character like he did in BTC, Informant, True Grit. I like it when he disappears from playing "Matt".
    From: cindiest Date: January 26th, 2015 11:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Invictus / Bourne Legacy

    Yes to everything you said. Totally. I feel like it might be too tall an order for the next Bourne to be truly good. Hopefully, they will surprise us. I'm very excited for the Payne movie. I love that director. Great Wall could be great as well. His performance was a knock out in Interstellar, I thought that movie was better than it got credit for, but I love the genre and the cast, so I am biased.

    What I would really love would be for Matt to write something great. The Promised Land could've been so good if they took more time on it and perhaps if Matt had been confronted by more pushback. There were some holes, some too obvious plot devises and it also even had some cliched acting. Still good, but he can do much, much better.

    I am one of the very few who LOVED Gerry. I mean, it's one of my all time favorites. And this was before I caught the Matt Damon bug (though from Day 1 he's been among my favorite actors).

    Edited at 2015-01-26 11:42 pm (UTC)
    4mattdamon From: 4mattdamon Date: January 27th, 2015 02:19 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Invictus / Bourne Legacy

    You bring up some more interesting points. With Bourne, since Matt will have a hand in the writing or construction of storyline, I don't think he will settle, especially since it's been 8-9 years. As far back as 2007 when he received his star on Hollywood Blvd, they asked him would there be a another Bourne, and I remember him saying something to the affect of if Ultimatium did well he would do another ones for the fans. I'm hoping we are all pleasantly surprised and that with Greengrass, they give us something great and not subpar like Greenzone (though of course he wasn't Bourne in that).

    I agree with you on Interstellar and we all know his performance created a lot of buzz. Promised Land was very good, and since it was a passion project for him, it has a special place in the Matt library, and I told him it was one of my favorite movies he's done. But you may be onto something, by saying that he can write and create something far far more better if he had more time.

    I'm glad you mentioned GERRY. It too is up there in my top 5 of his movies.

    One movie that I wish would come out on DVD was his first lead role in the TNT tv movie RISING SON. This was before School Ties and he had a much deeper emotional story to portray and he played opposite Brian Dennehy and Piper Laurie.

    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: January 22nd, 2015 06:50 am (UTC) (Link)

    The Talented Mr Ripley

    4mattdamon From: 4mattdamon Date: January 22nd, 2015 06:58 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: The Talented Mr Ripley

    Nice piece!!
    From: (Anonymous) Date: January 22nd, 2015 01:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: The Talented Mr Ripley

    The Talented Mr Ripley is a gem. I adore that movie.

    I noticed that Nancy refers to Matt as Matthew and I read once, that Lucy does the same.(Don't know if true, though)

    From: cindiest Date: January 22nd, 2015 06:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: The Talented Mr Ripley

    Love The Talented Mr. Ripley. Thanks for the link.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: January 22nd, 2015 10:15 am (UTC) (Link)


    A new water.org initiative to be announced at Sundance on Thursday:

    From: cindiest Date: January 22nd, 2015 06:30 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Sundance

    REALH1497 From: REALH1497 Date: January 22nd, 2015 09:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Another Reason to love matt

    what a great guy , i don't drink otherwise i would buy the cup i have supported water.org before
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: January 23rd, 2015 09:26 am (UTC) (Link)

    Superbowl commercial

    Details of Matt's Super Bowl commercial for Nationwide Bank with Mindy Kaling:

    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: January 23rd, 2015 11:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Super Bowl bet

    Matt talks about his bet with assistant Colin over the Super Bowl and mentions he has a year of work lined up, including Great Wall. The interviewer coaches his assistant's kid, so that's who they're talking about (Tanner O'Hara). He also mentions making the next Bourne movie at the end of the year and says he will be in seven or eight different countries this year.


    Interview from Budapest: http://kiroradio.com/listen/9982662/

    Edited at 2015-01-23 11:38 pm (UTC)
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