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Matt Damon News Column
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First update - November 29 2004
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A few articles about Matt's run in the Feaster Five are from the Eagle Tribune.

Movie star Damon draws fans to race
By Kevin Mealey, Correspondent

ANDOVER -- It wasn't an Academy Award, but movie star Matt Damon seemed just as pleased as he crossed the finish line at yesterday's 17th annual Feaster Five Road Race, sponsored by The Eagle-Tribune.

The 34-year-old Damon, who quit smoking a few months ago in preparation for his first-ever road race yesterday in Andover, not only completed the 5 kilometers, but did it in impressive fashion.

His time was 23:42 -- 7:38 per mile -- finishing 178th overall on the 3.1-mile course.

"It was great," said Damon, who is expected to take the next step and run the Boston Marathon in April. "I think I lost to an 8-year-old, but that's OK. We lost one kid at the McDonald's," he joked.

Damon's presence drew many adoring fans, who held signs along the route pledging support and hoping for a glimpse of the Cambridge native. Throughout the race he spoke to many runners and well-wishers.

Boston College student and Salem, N.H., native Bethany Knight was one of the many female participants who were curious about Damon's appearance.

"I'd try to hang with him, I probably wouldn't talk to him," said Knight about what she'd do if she met up with Damon during the race. "Everyone (at school) was like, bring a camera."

Dartmouth student and Lander, Wyo., native Lindsay Pryor ran the race with her boyfriend, Brad Bate of North Andover, but Damon was on her mind.

"I was chasing him for a while," said Pryor.

One of the reasons Damon chose Andover to start his road racing career was the fact that his father, Kent Damon, is an Andover native. For nearly three years, Damon's brother Kyle, who has run several marathons and triathlons, has pushed his brother to run a marathon.

"My brother called me. I was in Dubai (Middle East) shooting a movie," said Damon. "He said, you're getting up early and we're going to Andover."

Race director Dave McGillivray was not only thrilled with Damon's place in the field yesterday, but he couldn't say enough about the actor's performance.

"To run 7:38 per mile says something," said McGillivray, who met the movie star through his brother at a triathlon a few years ago. "Matt really was in good shape. He said he is running about five miles a day. You can see he is a good athlete. I hope he continues to take it seriously. I'm hoping he runs the Boston Marathon (in April) with his brother Kyle."

The Damon influence

Several runners yesterday had Matt Damon on their mind before, during and after yesterday's race.
WEEI radio personality and Andover resident Gerry Callahan's first comments after running the 3.1 distance was, "Did I beat Matt Damon?"

When informed that he hadn't beaten him, Callahan said, "(Damon's) young, he's probably on steroids."

Others weren't too impressed that the megastar chose to run the shorter of the two races. Audra Shulman, of Brookline, ran the 5-mile race and laughingly chastised Damon for taking the easy way out.

"What a wimp," she joking said.

Andover's Maureen Rigazio was disappointing it was the movie star and not the baseball star with the same surname.

"We thought it was Johnny Damon," said Rigazio.

  • More from the O12 press conference:

    Both Clooney and Damon made it into the puppet satire Team America: World Police as Hollywood actors duped by their own image and success.

    "I've always wanted to be a puppet," says Clooney, adding he "would have been offended if I hadn't been in the movie."

    Clooney explains he's "a friend of Trey Parker and Matt Stone. I helped them get (South Park) on TV and I was Sparky the gay dog in their movie. Part of the fun of being a celebrity is that can be made objects of satire."

    Damon adds: "George and I don't take ourselves seriously. If you're friends with comedians, you can always count on them to throw you in front of a bus for a good laugh."

  • Brian Cox talked about Matt (who he obviously doesn't know well at all) in this interview.

    Indeed, as well as X-Men 2, Cox starred in The Bourne Supremacy with Matt Damon and Troy with Brad Pitt. So how did he get on with his younger co-stars?

    "Both those young men are incredibly modest actually, and they were rather in awe of us older actors. Especially Brad, with regards to myself and Peter O'Toole.

    "I got on particularly well with Brad. He is a lot shier than you would expect. He comes from a different background to Matt.

    "Matt's family are theatrical, so he's had it in his blood all his life, but Brad comes from a very simple family, but he is very dedicated. It was a joy to work with the two of them. There's a lot of responsibility when you are a $20 million movie star, and they genuinely don't take it lightly, they are very responsible."

  • This article, originally from the New York Times magazine, mentioned Syriana:

    Of course, it's not all blockbusters at the big studios these days. Warner Brothers, for example, is making Syriana with George Clooney. Described by many as one of the best scripts in Hollywood, it is a dark tale about the global oil business that intertwines Middle Eastern politics and a story-line involving the CIA...

    Strangely, politics, especially anti-American politics, just might have global appeal. Insiders guess that The Manchurian Candidate, with its vague Halliburton-esque conspiracy plot, is playing better to an anti-American international audience than it did in the US. Warner Bros has high hopes for the ambiguous villain in Syriana. "The enemy is a combination of global business and politics," Robinov says. "We think that will play well to international markets."

  • In George Clooney's new People magazine article, it is mentioned that Syriana has finished filming, and that:

    During shooting in the Middle East, "we were in some places that you didn't really want to go out in," says Clooney, who's a coproducer on the film. "So Matt and I stayed in our hotel rooms [doing] a lot of eating."