The film isn't meant to play like an episode of Hardball. "Our story line is about the way people grieve in a couple," says Amanda Peet, who plays Damon's distraught wife. "I feel betrayed by him because I don't think he wants to grieve enough. Gaghan can take someone's tiny little personal tragedy and show how it connects to this large-scale political tragedy. I believe in that."
"Matt Damon was the 'ace in the hole'. I had no idea what a decent man he was. Not just decent but intimidatingly clever. He has an encyclopedic mind for the things that interest him. If Damon ever directs a film - see it - simple as that."
There is the story about the bump that Gilliam wanted to put on Matt Damon's nose. Damon plays Will Grimm in the movie, the older, pragmatic brother who has always fought to protect the dreamer Jacob (Heath Ledger). The nose bump was meant to give Will some roughneck mileage, and Gilliam says that Damon looked great with it ("like a young Brando").
"The night before the first day of shooting, I got a call from Bob saying, 'You put a bump on his nose, we close the movie down tomorrow,'" Gilliam says.
Gilliam says he was ready to let them close him down, but Damon talked him out of it. "Matt said, 'I really want to do this movie; let's just move on.' I agreed, but I felt like I'd compromised my very existence."