A few months ago, Matt Damon read a new play by Kenneth Lonergan called "Hold on to Me, Darling."
It was a very low-key, informal affair that, says a person who was there, did not feel like an audition at all.
But of course people were very curious to see how well Damon did. By all accounts, he did pretty damn well.
"He was brilliant," says the person who attended the reading. "You can't imagine they'd do the play without him."
Alas, the actor has several movies on his plate, so it's unlikely we will see him in "Hold on to Me, Darling" anytime soon.
Intentionally or not, Affleck has earned himself a part in the next-generation Rat Pack, a group anchored by George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon ("the classy Hollywood all-timer, the super-charming, fabulously good-looking guy you can't take your eyes off, and the brilliant actor," as Affleck describes them).
On future projects:
Affleck has been staying close to home, doing some readings with Damon of a Kenneth Lonergan play in New York, catching a Red Sox game or two (he came home to Boston for the World Series victory parade), and mulling over a part in a Broadway play that will be produced next spring.
His friendship with Matt:
Over the years, Casey has grown closer to Damon—who has a similar levelheadedness about the bizarre world of celebrity—perhaps even closer than he is to his own brother. "Ben kind of went his own way and doesn't stay in touch as much. But Matt is better at that," Casey says carefully. Then he stops. He is uncomfortable with this tack. He knows what he's implying, and he catches himself. He seems to recall his own thoughts about fame and celebrity and poison ivy and his strong feelings on the value of family.
"My first memory of Matt," Affleck says instead with a wry smile, starting over—"I was in fourth grade and I was going out with this girl, and Matt was in eighth grade, and he had a girlfriend. We took the same bus in school because we lived right down the street from each other. I got to sit in the back because of Matt, and the two girls were sitting together. I wore my karate outfit—I'd been taking karate lessons at the time—and I wore my karate outfit in school, and Matt was like, 'What belt are you, man?' and I was like, 'I'm a yellow belt.' And he was like, 'Well, I'm a black belt in street fighting.' And we were always friends after that."
What’s the best thing about playing a thief?
Matt: I don’t know what’s so good about playing a thief. I mean, you know, I’d say the best part about this role is being around these other actors.
That was actually my favorite part. It didn't necessarily have anything to do with my own role. I mean, I did ride the Paris subway in an attempt to get pick-pocketed in order to see how exactly they did it. My buddy was videoing the whole thing. No one picked my pocket. We got bolder and bolder as we went, but it didn’t pan out for us.
So what does that tell you about the French?
They’re pretty darn honest.
Speaking of the French, what was it like to work with Vincent Cassel?
He was great. I wish I had more scenes with Vincent. I mean, I worked a lot with his wife on another movie so I met him and I know the both of them. He’s just a great, great actor and hopefully this will give him some exposure in America. Obviously anyone who has seen some of his work in France, the guy deserves to be at the top of the heap.
You play an expert assassin in “The Bourne Supremacy” and a thief in this. Which one is more fun?
This one is much more fun in terms of fumbling around. It’s not fun to be right all the time and Jason Bourne is right a lot of the time. So I think this movie, or this whole performance, was a reaction to being right all the time as that Jason Bourne guy.
Did you ever fantasize about being either of these two characters in real life?
Well, it would be funner to be Jason Bourne than to be Linus (laughing).
Interview with George
What was the craziest thing on the set?
The craziest thing on the set is Matt Damon. Period. People don’t know that. Everyone thinks he’s really together. He’s out of his mind, that kid. He’s the best.