That hasn’t stopped Damon from trying to create his own opportunities. He looks for big films that will also be good. The next Jason Bourne movie will team him again with director Paul Greengrass. Damon credits fans with getting the film made.
“It was a real factor in doing it — that people really wanted to see it... Building an audience that’s really loyal and really loves it — that’s nothing to kind of turn your nose up at.”
Weir, who said he was thrilled when Damon signed on to play Watney, says Damon brings integrity to these blockbusters. “People think of him as an action-movie star. People forget that he’s a really good actor.”
Damon and Affleck faced questions together when they announced their intention to make a movie about James “Whitey” Bulger. The project appears up in the air since the release of director Scott Cooper’s “Black Mass.” Damon wouldn’t reveal much about the film he and Affleck hoped to make, but said their narrative about the infamous Boston gangster would be different from the film starring Johnny Depp.
“Ben and I had an idea that we would do it more like ‘Unforgiven’ — which was the anti-western. We wanted to do the anti-gangster movie. I got a letter from somebody — from a writer in South Boston when [Bulger] got caught and we announced that we were going to do this story. He sent me this letter and he was like, ‘Don’t glorify this guy anymore. Just stop. Please. He caused so much damage to so many people.’
And so it didn’t sit well with me. And then as I thought more about it, and Ben and I talked about it, what we realized was there was a way to do a movie that really explored all of our complicity in the raising up of this guy. . . . And, look, I was in ‘The Departed,’ so I’m not knocking anybody. I’m just saying what our way in was going to be, and I think it’s very different than anything that’s been done before and I was really excited about it.”
Despite obstacles, Damon seems to do what he wants. Maybe that’s why he had no problem talking about the project in the present tense.
“If we make it about our own complicity — like why do we celebrate this sociopathy,” he said, “then that’s a place that hasn’t been mined... and it’s really interesting.”
"In a funny kind of way, Matt is almost the perfect representative of the American," Ridley Scott said last month. "He's fair, he's sweet, he's firm, he's intelligent, and he's a very can-do kind of guy."
On a late August afternoon, the actor sat on a couch in a Los Angeles hotel room with a cup of coffee, his hair flecked with gray, his muscles sore. In a matter of days, he'd be heading to the Canary Islands to begin work on the as-yet-untitled fifth installment in the "Bourne" action series. At age 44, he said, the regimen of diet and exercise required to play an unstoppable killing machine like Jason Bourne was far more grueling than it used to be.
"It's horrible," Damon said wearily. "I'm in way better shape than I was for any of the other movies, but it's been 10 times harder. I'm really not fun to be around. I have a horrible attitude."
Jessica Chastain, who co-starred with Damon in "Interstellar" and plays the commander of his Mars mission in "The Martian," says that, even amid the seismic changes in Hollywood, the actor has managed to carve out a consistently rich and unpredictable career. "Matt is inspiring to be around," she said. "He is a chameleon, someone who shape-shifts in their roles, and he's a movie star — and it's very rare that I think you can be both things."
As for "The Martian," early reviews have been almost universally raves, with critics hailing the film as a refreshingly original blend of spectacle and smarts.
"Movies like this are harder and harder to find," Damon said. "It's not a franchise, and it's not trying to be a franchise."
He laughed. "Though they would try if the movie did well enough. In the sequel, I'd end up stuck on Saturn. 'Not again!'"