Matthew Damon Curated
Matt Damon is an American actor.
CURATED BY :
What did you think the movie "Ford v Ferrari" was about?
What's the most emotionally taxing role you've had to play?
Did you know you wanted acting to be your career?
What do you sort of credit with helping you keep a clear head?
Do you like to read your own movie reviews?
You didn't graduate from Harvard because you booked an acting job is that correct?
Is your relationship with cars rather schizophrenic?
I think people find it strange that I can own a Tesla at the same time as I’ve got a Toyota Hybrid in the garage. I guess that shows I have excitement and a conscience [laughs]. The truth is I don’t believe in pigeon- holding myself. I wouldn’t just take film roles in one genre, so at the same time I see the benefits and the merits of having a car that respects and does the least damage to the environment… while at the same time wanting something a bit sportier. Surely it’s better to have something that is positive and good, rather than just a garage full of supercars?
Ford v. Ferrari has been talked about for a long time. Does the secrecy over this film makes it frustrating?
I’ve had many movies over the years that have fallen under the same conditions. It’s something you get used to, and usually by the time you’re promoting it in junkets or press events you’ve moved on to the next project, or even the one after that. All I can say is that it was a pleasure to be involved in something that was such an iconic part of history. And more than that, you look at how the race and the era shaped the fortunes of these two magnificent manufacturers, going forward, and it’s a pleasure to be at the start of it. It’s also been exciting for me as a motor- racing fan – who could imagine anything better than this for someone who loves anything on four wheels?
Tell us about the ecological and humanitarian work you’ve been doing for many years including your Water.org and H20 Africa Foundation?
I was raised to be actively interested and engaged in the world and be a responsible human being. Children are dying all over the world, particularly in Africa, from a lack of access to clean water and sanitation. The technology exists to provide everyone with clean, safe drinking water and I wanted to be part of the effort to stop children from dying so unnecessarily because of this problem. I’m the father of four children, and I couldn’t live with myself if I did nothing to help other children in this way. At least I can make use of my name and whatever recognition I have to do some good for kids who deserve our care.
Christian Bale is a formidable co-star, but who has been the best?
I wouldn’t speculate as to the best, but I’ve always said George Clooney is someone I admire. He’s an incredibly generous and beautiful man. He’s also one of the best directors I’ve worked with. And the more I get to know him, and the older he gets, the more I respect and appreciate what a great and good man he is. It’s almost frustrating to be his friend, because you know that you can never repay his generosity. I’ve never found one thing I didn’t like about the man in all the time I’ve known him.
Will there be another Jason Bourne movie?
There might be another, and there might have been the last. I don’t know if I have it in me, physically [laughs]. The last one was rough. So, I don’t know, honestly. I said it after the one before, we’re done, there’s no more coming. I had to eat my words, happily eat my words. Right at this minute, I don’t see it happening but maybe in a couple years, ring in my 50th with another chapter.
How are you adapting to this new industry climate?
It’s a very interesting time to live in because it’s so much less predictable. The last few years changed me profoundly, whether I wanted to or not. I still love my job, I still love making movies, and I love a lot of different aspects of that. I can definitely see directing; I can definitely see writing more in the next decade.
Would you give up acting?
No, I would still keep acting but ultimately I love filmmaking because it speaks to that impulse that we have to tell stories to each other. It’s a very human impulse that we have had since we were drawing pictures on cave walls, saying, “Hey look, the buffalo almost got me. My friends and I got the buffalo instead. Can you relate to that?” Film and books and music… Art is the best way to tell each other those stories. I still love that. I still feel compelled to do it and I don’t know where it is all going. I guess I am a little uneasy about it. It’s just something new that puts you in a state of unease. The next 20 years are not going to look anything like the last 20 years. That much is clear.
Is it a frightening time to be an actor and a producer — or maybe it’s invigorating?
I am very lucky because I have had a really fortunate career. It would be frightening if I were 20, 25 years younger and just getting into the business because I would be less certain about where it was going. But the good news is that a lot of great stuff has just migrated to TV and there is wonderful stuff being made on TV, so I feel there is going to be work available. It’s just my bread and butter movies were movies like this. Those are the kind of movies they are not making.
Are you seeing the industry differently since taking that time away?
Yeah. The movie business is so different from 20 years ago. The DVD market is gone. I was talking to one studio head a few years ago that it cut the business in half. Movies like Ford v Ferrari, for example, it was incredible that we even got the financing to do it because these are precisely the types of movies that are going away.
Recently you famously admitted to turning down the lead in Avatar and losing out on $250 million due to a lucrative backend deal. Is that another successful film you didn’t see coming?
I know, I know… The cat is out of the bag on that story. I like telling it because it’s the proof that I am the dumbest businessman in the world! But really, at the time, I had no choice. I would have had to screw over the people working on The Bourne Ultimatum and I couldn’t do that ethically. So it’s not like I wasn’t doing anything and I just passed on Avatar. That never would have happened.
How do you define success?
It’s the work. It’s the process itself. I have done enough movies now — movies that have failed, movies that have been successful. All we have as the people making it is the love of the doing of it. I am aware of the results because I have to be; it has an impact on my career so I can’t be ignorant of the movies that I am doing. But it’s really about feeling that I did my best work, the best work I could do under the circumstances, feeling that we told the story we wanted to tell in the way we wanted to tell it. That’s really the definition of success.