WEIRDLAND: Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting, Behind the Candelabra, Emmys, Directorial Debut)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting, Behind the Candelabra, Emmys, Directorial Debut)

Though Matt Damon has had a fairly lengthy Hollywood career, his Emmy nomination for lead actor as Scott Thorson, Liberace's lover, in HBO's "Behind the Candelabra" is his first. Of course, that's because Damon usually focuses on the big screen.

You may recognize him from movies like "The Bourne Identity" and, most recently, "Elysium." He's also that guy who wrote a script with his buddy, Ben Affleck, and won an Oscar for it. Surely, you remember "Good Will Hunting."

Then there's the roles he'll always be remembered for no matter what he does. The biggest of those is likely 1997's "Good Will Hunting," which introduced Matt to the world on a grand scale. While he'd had several screen credits before that point, everyone know who Damon and Affleck were after that movie. Source:

Matt Damon and Michael Douglas won't just be competing for an Emmy. They'll be handing one out, too. Emmys producers announced the pair as this year's first presenters Tuesday. Damon and Douglas are both nominated for outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie for Behind the Candelabra. The HBO biopic about pianist Liberace's affair with Scott Thorson has 15 nominations in all. Source:

"Eventually stardom is going to go away from me. It goes away from everybody and all you have in the end is to be able to look back and like the choices you made." -Matt Damon

Matt Damon: From Harvard to Good Will Hunting and Beyond (by Jessica Jayne)

Matt Damon attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin School where he was proudly a disciplined student. But his first two years was “terrifying” because of his shortness during that time. Though he did well at school, there were lonely periods in his adolescence. He has described feeling “such pain in wanting to belong somewhere and not belonging.” When he was 14, he dreamed of going to the Yale School of Drama to become an actor, but he ended up at Harvard instead. He found joy in performing as an actor in some high school theater productions, citing his drama teacher at Rindge and Latin, Gerry Speca, as an artistic influence. After high school, Matt was accepted into Harvard University as an English major in the fall of 1988. He was supposed to graduate with the class of 1992, but he had an idea that he wouldn’t actually graduate. Aside from appearing in school plays such as 'Burn This in Winthrop House', Matt usually skipped classes to pursue minor acting projects, including 'Rising Sun' (1993) and prep-school drama, 'School Ties' (1992).

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck struggled through a series of made-for-TV roles. They had shared a run-down one bedroom in Los Angeles during the lean times and also shared similar experiences in facing audition rejections.

Good Will Hunting received universal critical acclaim and was a financial success. It grossed over US$225 million during its theatrical run with only a modest $10 million budget. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture, and won two: Best Supporting Actor for Williams and Best Original Screenplay for Affleck and Damon. Howard Zinn was mentioned in the script of Good Will Hunting and years later Damon would narrate in Zinn’s biographical film 'You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train' and an audio version of 'A People’s History of the United States'.

Lisa Schwarzbaum particularly noted Matt’s portrayal of his character in 'The Talented Mr. Ripley' (1999): “Damon is at once an obvious choice for the part and a hard sell to audiences soothed by his amiable boyishness… the fa├žade works surprisingly well when Damon holds that gleaming smile just a few seconds too long, his Eagle Scout eyes fixed just a blink more than the calm gaze of any non-murdering young man. And in that opacity we see horror.”

Director Doug Liman had many actors in mind for the role of Jason Bourne, including Russell Crowe and Sylvester Stallone but finally settled on Matt Damon. The director learned that Matt understood that though the film would have its share of action, the main focus was on character and plot. This would be the first time that Matt would be playing a physically demanding role though he insisted on performing many of the stunts himself.

'The Bourne Identity' was both a critical and commercial success. Roger Ebert praised “Damon’s ability to be focused and sincere.” Film critic Walter Chaw also gave praises for the film’s pacing and action sequences, describing them as “kinetic, fair, and intelligent, every payoff packaged with a moment’s contemplation crucial to the creation of tension.” Charles Taylor also gave a positive review, saying, “The Bourne Identity is something of an anomaly among big-budget summer blockbusters: a thriller with some brains and feeling behind it, more attuned to story and character than to spectacle.”

Between 'The Bourne Identity' and its sequel 'The Bourne Supremacy', Matt Damon starred in three films. One was the comedy 'Stuck on You' in 2003 where Matt and actor Greg Kinnear portrayed the roles of conjoined twins. Matt starred in the equally unsuccessful 2004 film 'EuroTrip' as the lead singer of a college band. He also appeared briefly in 'Jersey Girl' starring his pal Ben Affleck.

Matt Damon was named "Sexiest Man Alive" by People magazine in 2007. He dismissed the award.

Matt Damon and Emily Blunt in 'The Adjustment Bureau' (2011) directed by George Nolfi

After 'True Grit,' Matt Damon starred in the 2011 romantic action thriller 'The Adjustment Bureau' based on the Philip K. Dick short story, “Adjustment Team.” Here he takes on the role of Brooklyn Congressman David Norris who unsuccessfully runs for the United States Senate. And then David met Elise, a character played by Emily Blunt.

He fell in love with her and wanted to be with her forever. But there was one major problem: David was not supposed to end up with Elise. Before long, men in fedora hats and suits began appearing and doing everything to keep the couple apart.

Matt Damon had a two-year relationship with Winona Ryder which ended in 2000. Winona said (in an interview with Black Book magazine), “Matt couldn't be a greater, nicer guy. I'm really lucky that I'm on good terms with him.” Matt Damon hadn’t much luck with the famous women (i.e. Minnie Driver) he dated and kept looking. In 2003, he was filming the Farrelly brothers comedy 'Stuck on You' in Miami when he met Argentine-born Luciana Barroso, where she was working as a bartender.

After they met, Matt was done looking. The couple had become inseparable then. Lucy, as he prefers to call her, and her 7-year-old daughter, Alexia, from a previous relationship had been with Matt throughout the European shoot of 'Ocean’s Twelve'. But the big test came in 2004 when Matt brought Lucy home to meet his family and friends in Boston.

Recently they’ve renewed their marriage vows in St. Lucia (April 13, 2013). They’ve had around 50 guests for the sunset ceremony. A whole luxury hotel in “Saint Lucia” was booked for a reported $600,000. Damon vowed to his wife, “to keep my sense of humor… to defend you in public and correct you in private, to hold the handheld shower when you're rinsing the dye out of your hair even though you say I don't do it right, to always respect your views even when we disagree — like about the fact that there's a right way and a wrong way to hold a handheld shower… to make a fool out of myself in front of you— but not too often… to be the dad our four beautiful children deserve, to be your best friend, and no matter what unpredictable direction life takes us in, to be right next to you loving you with everything I have.”

Matt and Lucy married in a civil ceremony on December 9, 2005 at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau in New York City. Matt became officially the stepfather of Alexia. The couple’s first child together, Isabella, was born on June 11, 2006. Their second daughter, Gia Zavala, was born on August 20, 2008, and their third child, daughter Stella, was born on October 20, 2010. Their first two daughters were born in Miami and the third was born in New York. -"Matt Damon: From Harvard to Good Will Hunting and Beyond" (The Incredible Hunks) by Jessica Jayne (2012)

Matt Damon May Make His Directorial Debut With The Conspiracy Thriller 'A Foreigner': Based on a New Yorker article titled "A Murder Foretold," written by David Grann, the film will tell the true story of a man down in Guatemala "who leaves behind a videotape after his death implicating the country's president and first lady." The adaptation is being written by Chris Terrio, who earned near-universal acclaim and won an Academy Award for his 'Argo' screenplay.

One of Damon's greatest assets going into his directorial debut is the simple fact that he's had the chance to work with some of the best filmmakers in Hollywood over the course of his career. The star has gone on record saying that each project he takes on is like going to film school, and if that's the case he has had some of the best professors imaginable, having worked with Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, the Coen brothers, Steven Spielberg, Gus Van Sant, Cameron Crowe, Paul Greengrass and many, many more. If he can successfully adapt what he learned from all of those film sets into his own movie we should be in for a real treat.

If Damon is lucky he'll carve out a directing career even half as successful as Affleck's. The latter star completely turned his career around with Gone Baby Gone in 2007 and has only managed to improve with each new feature. Damon's career doesn't really need much rejuvenation, as he remains one of Hollywood's most reliable stars when it comes to quality, but it will be fascinating to see him enter into a whole new era of his career. While The Trade and Father Daughter Time seemed to fall apart, we really hope 'A Foreigner' sticks and that we're now only a couple years away from seeing it on the big screen. Source:

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