Matt Damon Breaks Down His Iconic Characters from Good Will Hunting to The Departed - VRGyani News and Media

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Friday, September 10, 2021

Matt Damon Breaks Down His Iconic Characters from Good Will Hunting to The Departed

Between grounded dramas like Invictus, the slick heists of the Ocean's trilogy, and the gritty action of the Bourne franchise, it's fair to say that Matt Damon has had a varied carreer. In a new interview video with GQ, the Oscar-nominated actor discussed some of his most iconic roles, ranging from the grit of Saving Private Ryan to the near sci-fi of The Martian.

The interview covers much of Damon's career, starting with Good Will Hunting, for which he and costar Ben Affleck took home an Oscar for best original screenplay. "We wrote that movie specifically, Ben and I wrote it because we wanted the parts as actors," explains Damon. "At the time, there was a really popular movie we all loved called Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino's first movie. The story we had heard was that, because Harvey Keitel signed up for the movie, Quentin got half a million dollars. That was his budget, and he coould make the movie. So we wrote that part that Robin [Williams] eventually took, we called that 'the Harvey Keitel part.'" Damon reserved special praise for William's performance:

"I just have so many memories of that guy. He changed our lives, and he couldn't have been more gracious, more hard working. As writers, he was a guy who could come in and throw lines out. For instance, the last line of that movie, he reads a letter from me and says 'you son of a bitch, you stole my line.' That wasn't scripted, Robin just did that. We had scripted that he just kind of sits there and takes it in and realizes that my character is gone and didn't say anything, he just took that moment. [...] I was with Gus Van Sant, the director, we were both next to the camera, and I remember grabbing him like this, shaking him, because we knew that was it the second he said it. And then we probably did ten more takes after that, because Robin would just go until he had literally mined everything in that beautiful brain of his. He just was a really special guy."

RELATED: Matt Damon on ‘Stillwater,’ ‘No Sudden Move,’ and How He Reads Every Steven Soderbergh Script

One clear theme that emerges from the interview is how much Damon values his directors. From Steven Soderbergh to Steven Spielberg to the Coen brothers, Damon has anectdotes and praise for each. A particular highlight is hearing his reaction to being invited to do The Departed with Martin Scorcese by Ocean's costar Brad Pitt.

"I remember, we were shooting Ocean's 12 and Brad came up and said, 'Hey, do you want to be in a Martin Scorsese movie?' Because Brad, I don't know if you know, produced that. Brad was going to play either Leo or my role, I can't remember which one. I guess they had spoken to Marty, and Marty was like, 'No, I'd like to have Matt.' I thought Brad was joking. What actor do you ask that question of? You're like, 'Shut up, man.' He's like, 'No, I'm actually serious.' And then he handed me the script and it was fantastic. I just felt like that was one of the things that fell from the sky. It's like Marty, it's like working with Steven Spielberg or Coppola, like, 'Wow, I got to do that.' I'll always be greatful that I had that chance. It's just electric when you're doing it, because you're doing it in front of Martin Scorcese."

Damon also talks extensively about some of the more involved preparations he's done for roles, including exhaustive training regimens for the Bourne films, and developing a technique for approximating a tongue wound in True Grit. He undertook some particularly rigorous dialect training to prepare for Clint Eastwood's unique directorial style for Invictus:

"I just remember loving working with him. He does one take. I'd heard that, so I worked on that South African accent like an office job. Tim Monich, this great dialect coach would come, and from Monday to Friday, from nine to five like it was an office job, we worked, for about six months on that thing. Because I knew I was only going to get one take. On the first day, I did my first take, and I knew that I got it right, but I was like, 'hey boss, can I have another one?' And he just turned to me and goes, 'Why? Do you want to waste everybody's time?' And I was like, 'Alright, I guess we're moving on!' So that was day one with Clint."

It's a fascinating interview, full of more behind the scenes insights on some of Damons' most notable costars and directors. It also touches on the presience of 2011's Contagion, and what drew Damon to films like The Talented Mr. Ripley and Stillwater. Damon couldn't touch on every role in the half-hour video, but he offers that he can discuss any overlooked films "next time."

You can next see Damon in The Last Duel, which arrives in theaters October 15. Check out the full interview below:

KEEP READING: Here’s the Interesting Way Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Nicole Holofcener Divided ‘The Last Duel’ Script



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