We hear: That Matt Damon and his beloved, Luciana Barroso, spent the Thanksgiving weekend in Miami eating turkey and not getting married on the North Shore. That’s the word from Matt’s publicist, Jennifer Allen, who threw cold champagne on those recent wedding rumors flying around the ’burbs.
You need gray matter to follow the comings and goings of what feels like a cast of hundreds and the little plot points that crop up. Gaghan felt it essential to cast actors up to the task. Politics aside, Clooney, who directed this year's brainy Good Night, and Good Luck, and Damon, who is active in political causes, qualify. The two actors have collaborated on screen before.
"They're great actors, but they're genuinely engaged, smart people. Matt Damon is one of the smartest people I know," he said. "I can see how they'd have this type of mutual respect and be drawn to the same things."
Damon can also be funny, cynical and self-deprecating. Just ask him about the English accent and strange hairstyle he adopted to play the caddish Wilhelm in The Brothers Grimm.
"It was a wig," he chuckles. "The New York Times said I looked like I was in a Paul Revere and The Raiders tribute band. I worked on the English accent for months beforehand. I still never quite got it -- we were in Prague, so there weren't any people to model it after. Normally immersion is the best way."
Then there's the Scorsese bloodbath, where he plays the bad cop to DiCaprio's good cop. Though, he says, the characters are all shades of grey in that movie.
Will there be a sequel as there was in the Hong Kong version?
"It'd be tough because [[I get shot in the face.]] Though I'm sure if it's a success Warner Brothers will find a way."
"It's so weird. We won the Oscar seven years ago and these careers in America happen so fast now. There are people who appear in the magazines and I don't know who the f--- they are. I've never seen anything they've done and their careers are over already. They're famous for maybe 10 minutes. Real careers, I think, take a long time to unfold and there's less difference between Ben and I than people probably think. It's just down to the kind of movies we've been in over the past couple of years."
"It's hard to pick a movie. Nobody wants to be in a bad movie. You look at the screenplay and it's a director you're keen to work with, but it's still like taking a swing in the dark every time. There's so much that can go wrong."
"I mean, in The Brothers Grimm, not everything works, but it was a good script and Terry was directing it so there were a lot of reasons to do it. Ultimately the movie works or it doesn't and you don't have the luxury of going to see it before you decide whether or not to do it. So I think people get beaten up unfairly in terms of their choices."
Q: People know you as a director of great fantasy films and a great visual director. I think this shows once again that you can do actors. I think people forget that you can do actors. The performances of Matt Damon and Heath Ledger carry the film, they are the engine of the film.
Terry Gilliam: Absolutely right. The other part of the story that was important was that you’ve got two brothers. What we did was to turn them into opposites – one the realist, the other the dreamer - to see how much we could stretch the brotherhood, whether it will snap back together if we pull them apart. Getting them right was absolutely essential, Matt and Heath I just think are extraordinary because not only are they playing characters that they’ve never got to play before, very different types of personalities, but they actually blended together and I totally believe that they’re brothers.
Q: And very good English accents.
TG: Yeah, and the American reviews were pissing all over Matt’s accent, which is ridiculous. I love Matt’s accent. It’s much easier for Heath because he’s Australian and he’s done Four Feathers, so it comes more easily to him. Matt did really hard work with a great dialogue coach working with him. I think for Matt, he felt very uncertain through much of the film-making because he felt much of the accent was slipping around the place, but I love the fact that it slips and slides around London, it seems to me. He’s a wide boy, a hustler, so one minute its slid down to south of the river, now we move north depending on who he’s trying to con and I think it’s wonderful because of that.