Matt Damon Interview
Matt Damon Interview
I was looking back over your films and you’ve covered just about every genre in the last few years. Was that a plan?

Matt Damon

No, the roles were great but it was director driven. And I haven’t really had any hard choices since Bourne Identity. Suddenly my choices became really easy – like Paul Greengrass would call or Martin Scorsese. It’s ridiculous! Like someone would ask me, ‘Why did you do this movie?’ Well, that’s easy, if Martin Scorsese asks me to do a movie I’m there. It’s not even a choice. If the Coen Brothers ask you to work with Jeff Bridges on True Grit, that’s easy. I was in before I knew what the movie was. And then I looked at it and the script is great and unlike anything I’ve had the chance to do before so it was just another really easy decision. It’s like poker. The whole idea in poker is to make your opponent make tough decisions as often as you can. I’ve played poker with some great players and the feeling of pressure is terrible. You are constantly under pressure and they are not. I feel like the playing field hasn’t been level for me at all – but I’m on the winning side and I’ve just had easy decision after easy decision. I haven’t had to do any career calculus the way you normally have to.
Do you think about why that happened?

Matt Damon

Well, for years I thought I was inoculated by the Bourne movies. I knew that I had another one two years down the road and that gave me the freedom to do whatever I wanted to do because I had that as a backstop. I remember in 2007 Forbes Magazine did this list and it said I was rated the best investment in Hollywood because of what I got paid and what I delivered at the box office and they measured this thing by the last three movies. Well, this year I’m one of the worst. [Laughs] And it’s a pretty fickle business. My personal pay cheque didn’t go up in those ten years, just the movies didn’t work, a few in a row. We all talk about how we make our decisions but the only way I can do it is that I don’t want to be one of those guys who just protects his beachhead and gets scared so that you end up not pushing yourself in the right directions.
You don’t strike me as the type of actor who chases the kind of films that you think will have a big opening weekend …

Matt Damon

No. And if that becomes your yardstick then you’re fucked, I think. Because all you do is just kind of figure out what it is that people like to see you do the most and you only do that thing. And that eventually is going to run out as it has for every actor in history and if you are judging your own success by the opening weekend and suddenly there isn’t an opening weekend and now you are a failure. For me, it’s about making films that are interesting to you. That’s what Clint Eastwood always talks about – he says, ‘I make these movies for me ...’ He says, ‘The way I look at it, I’m a tour guide and you are on my tour bus and you are welcome to get off and if you get off I’ll invite you to the next tour but I’m giving the tour …’
Clint Eastwood is 80 and still going strong. Would you like to have that kind of longevity?

Matt Damon

I hope I’m working into my 80s. I hope I’m able to take care of myself as well as he has because he’s got a lot of energy – he feels great, he looks great and I think doing something that you love is energising. Clint is the model and he kept acting, too and his work kept getting better and better. He’s one of the few people that have aged gracefully in Hollywood. So yeah, that’s the dream.
As a young man, I wasted a lot of energy doing things that I thought would help my performance and didn’t...
But is there a different approach when you get a little older? You’ve got a family now and I wonder whether you would take on a role in the same way as you did when you made Courage Under Fire and lost all that weight?

Matt Damon

I don’t think you can carry on like that and I don’t think it’s healthy. You do it in short verse if you need to. If there was some role where I needed to lose weight, I’d do it. I read something that Anthony Hopkins said once where he talked about getting older and acting and that the whole process becomes far more economic because you don’t waste energy. I think as a young man, I wasted a lot of energy doing things that I thought would help my performance and didn’t. And so you don’t go down those rabbit holes anymore because you’ve learned the hard way not to. And in the end you can turn in a much better performance because you are using your energy in the right way.
Are you still hoping to make the Liberace biopic with Michael Douglas?

Matt Damon

We are hoping to go this summer – that’s the plan. There are fewer movies being made than there were even three years ago because of the economic situation. I’m encountering something that I didn’t encounter four or five years ago which is I can’t get a lot of movies made just on my name. And I’ve talked to a lot of directors who say, ‘We tried to get this or that off the ground, but it didn’t happen ...’ But with Liberace we’re planning on doing it, Michael is planning on it – everything is going great with him, which is fantastic – it’s just that the money is not in the bank yet. But we’ll get it.

True Grit Film Review

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Content updated: 24/02/2019 09:56

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