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Transcript of CNN interview

  • The transcript of Matt's interview with Soledad O'Brien on CNN's American Morning is available here:

    S. O'BRIEN: Actor Matt Damon is lending his voice to the fight against AIDS and global poverty. He spent six days in Africa this month, a place where 25 million people are infected with HIV. Nearly two million of them are children. He got a firsthand look at the scope of the problem and some of the solutions, too. Matt Damon's in Miami this morning.

    (Copying the part most people will care about)

    S. O'BRIEN: Any names? Any info you want to share? Soledad's a lovely name. Soledad Damon. I like it. I like little baby Soledad.

    DAMON: Well, let's see. When we're due, let's put it this way, I came here to do this interview actually with my wife because we're afraid of me leaving the house at this point. So any time we're expecting her to come along, and we have picked a name, the name Isabella.

    Nice to see you, Matt. How are you this morning?

    MATT DAMON, ACTOR: I'm great. How are you doing?

    S. O'BRIEN: I'm doing well. Thank you. Why Africa? why did you feel the need to go to Africa for a tour of what was really happening there?

    DAMON: Well, it was something I'd been aware of for a while. I think kind of the aggregate affect of hearing about it and thinking about it a lot, plus being ready to bring a baby into the world myself, I started to think a lot about the kind of world that I wanted to leave her and her children. So it was a lot.

    S. O'BRIEN: Yes, sounds like a lot. You went to Zambia. You went to a school in the Kandiwa (ph) area. At the school, 100 children attend school there; 97 of these 100 children have HIV. What was it like?

    DAMON: Well, yes. We saw a lot of that there, a lot of kids with AIDS, or HIV, a lot of orphans. That's a very, very big issue there. AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, it's really decimated a generation. You see a lot of children living with grandparents because their parents -- that generation has just literally been wiped out.

    S. O'BRIEN: Let me ask you a question. You talked to a guy whose wife died of AIDS and he is HIV positive, and he described for you what happened to him and sort of the good news really when he got drugs and he got treatment. Let's listen.

    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I lost all hope in life. My children went out like street children. I went for a visit and the test came out positive. And after private counseling, I accepted my status, as well I was able to retain my children back, and in the process, I was even found a partner who I'm married in my status, and I'm happily married now.

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

    S. O'BRIEN: And there she is. The wife comes out, the new wife comes out. You know, I expected for this to be, honestly, fairly depressing, and I think it is, but you know, a lot of the of videotape that you have come back with is actually very hopeful.

    DAMON: Yes, I mean, I think there's a lot to be hopeful about. I mean, these anti-retroviral drugs that are going in there, they cost about a $1 a day. The places where these drugs getting, really it has a Lazarus effect on these patients; they come back to life. That place where that man spoke was actually a clinic, the Ciders (ph) Clinic in Lusaka, in Zambia that actually has -- I mean, it's literally -- you can translate our tax dollars to the saving of human lives. It's really quite exceptional. So at a time when the global fund is under discussion up on the Hill, you know, I think Americans need to be aware of what's going on there. One.org is a place to get information because, you know, we all get busy in our lives, and all we have our own problems and our things that we're focusing on, and sometimes, you know, to think about this continent where, you know, that's struggling under all these various crises, it might seem a little overwhelming. And, you know, to be able to get a bulletin on the Internet or something, keep you informed and keep you up to speed on what's going on in a way that totally doesn't overtake your own life. I think it'll allow us to be a lot more effective.

    S. O'BRIEN: I think when you do the math, a dollar a day, it really -- it's sort of within everybody's reach, at least a little bit at a time. Before I let you go, I want to ask you about the new baby. It's going to be a girl. When is she due?

    DAMON: Well...

    S. O'BRIEN: Any names? Any info you want to share? Soledad's a lovely name. Soledad Damon. I like it. I like little baby Soledad.

    DAMON: Well, let's see. When we're due, let's put it this way, I came here to do this interview actually with my wife because we're afraid of me leaving the house at this point. So any time we're expecting her to come along, and we have picked a name, the name Isabella.

    S. O'BRIEN: Oh, nice.

    DAMON: We have been calling her Isabella for months.

    S. O'BRIEN: All right, better than Soledad even. Matt, always nice to catch up with you. Thanks for coming to talk to us about this work, not just your movie work, but also this really important work. We appreciate it.

    DAMON: I appreciate you having us. And please have us on in the future, all of us who want to talk about this, because it needs to stay in all of our minds and our hearts.

    S. O'BRIEN: Excellent. Thanks, Matt.

    DAMON: Thank you.

    (END VIDEOTAPE)

    (BUSINESS HEADLINES)

    S. O'BRIEN: I like me some Matt Damon. I'll tell you that.

    M. O'BRIEN: We'll let Brad know about that.

    S. O'BRIEN: Well, Brad already knows.

    ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: It's a Boston thing, right?

    S. O'BRIEN: It's a Boston thing. I went to school with him. We went to school at the same time.

    SERWER: You were pals in school?

    S. O'BRIEN And he's a movie star that helps.

    M. O'BRIEN: You were a college pals? Chums?

    S. O'BRIEN: Yes, he's a little younger than me. We were there at the same time.

    M. O'BRIEN: Not going there.

    S. O'BRIEN: That's right. Very, very wise.

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