Updated 11/30/2004






Calendar
      12/02 -- Primetime Live interview with the O12 cast
      12/03 -- Matt and George on Oprah
      12/07 -- Matt and George on The Tonight Show (Leno)
      12/07 -- The Bourne Supremacy DVD available
      12/08 -- Ocean's Twelve premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in LA, 6.00pm
      12/10 -- Ocean's Twelve opens in US theaters
      03/01/05 -- The Departed commences filming
      10/01/05 -- Syriana opens in US theaters fourth quarter (date TBD)
      11/23/05 -- The Brothers Grimm opens in US theaters


11/30/2004
  • This site will no longer be updated from Wednesday 1 December. Instead, I will maintain a text only news-based Livejournal/blog at http://www.livejournal.com/users/mattdamoncolumn/

  • Photos of Matt before his appearances on GMA and Late Show with David Letterman are below. Matt was not scheduled to be on Letterman, but filled in for George Clooney who has cancelled a number of media stops due to a back injury.

    On GMA Diane Sawyer asked about Ben's most recent SNL appearance where he mock-seriously (or more serious than mockingly) attacked Matt's recent statements and behaviour, which Ben believed had been aimed at him. Matt said he had watched "with his jaw to the floor", but Ben had called him backstage, immediately after the skit, laughing.




  • Matt may replace Leonardo DiCaprio in a new film to be directed by Robert de Niro called The Good Shepherd. The film is scheduled to begin filming in March, which would obviously conflict with The Departed, where Leo is a co-star. Details from Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.

    Damon's good for U

    By Dana Harris

    (Variety) Matt Damon will replace Leonardo DiCaprio in Robert De Niro's passion project "The Good Shepherd," and Morgan Creek is negotiating a deal to handle the pic's foreign rights.

    Universal Pictures remains onboard to distribute the film in North America. If all deals close, the film could keep its March 7 start date.

    Earlier this month, Graham King's Initial Entertainment Group pulled out of financing the pic, which was written by Eric Roth and was slated to star DiCaprio and De Niro. ( Daily Variety, Nov. 11)

    A history of the CIA as seen through the eyes of a career agent, the film was already in pre-production. However, with a budget north of $110 million, the foreign market found it tough to accommodate the drama.

    De Niro serves as the film's producer as well as director and star. De Niro's partner in Tribeca Prods., Jane Rosenthal, also produces. Francis Ford Coppola, Rick Schwartz and Chris Brigham are credited as executive producers.

    Damon most recently shot "Syriana" opposite his "Ocean's Twelve" co-star, George Clooney. He's also slated to star in Martin Scorsese's next film, "The Departed" for Warner Bros. Pictures.

    Damon spies lead role in 'Shepherd'

    By Liza Foreman

    Less than three weeks after Graham King's Initial Entertainment Group decided against financing "The Good Shepherd," the film appears to have found a new lease on life. Matt Damon is in discussions to join "Shepherd," the long-gestating project about a career CIA agent. It is expected that he would step into the role that was originally to have been played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

    Financier Morgan Creek is in early discussions to board the project, which Universal Pictures would release domestically. A spokesperson for Morgan Creek said that no offer has gone out to Damon. But sources said early discussions about the actor's participation have begun. Damon would star opposite Robert De Niro, who is to take a co-starring role in the film, which he also plans to direct. De Niro and partner Jane Rosenthal are producing through their Tribeca Prods. De Niro is aiming for a March 7 start date in the New York metropolitan area. Damon is repped by Endeavor.

  • From a Boston Herald article about Casey Affleck, and his new cover article in Boston magazine.

    Casey, a vegan and animal-rights yahoo who has a baby son, Indiana August, with galpal Summer Phoenix, says he's been closer to boyhood pal - and "Good Will Hunting" co-star - Matt Damon than Ben lately.

    "Ben kind of went his own way and doesn't stay in touch as much," he said. "But Matt is better at that."


11/29/2004
  • This site will no longer be updated from Wednesday 1 December. Instead, I will maintain a text only news-based Livejournal/blog as this current site is becoming increasingly impossible to update due to server problems. The new Livejournal site location is http://www.livejournal.com/users/mattdamoncolumn/

  • A few articles about Matt's run in the Feaster Five are from the Eagle Tribune. The picture at right is from the Palm Springs press junket.

    Movie star Damon draws fans to race

    By Kevin Mealey, Correspondent

    ANDOVER -- It wasn't an Academy Award, but movie star Matt Damon seemed just as pleased as he crossed the finish line at yesterday's 17th annual Feaster Five Road Race, sponsored by The Eagle-Tribune.

    The 34-year-old Damon, who quit smoking a few months ago in preparation for his first-ever road race yesterday in Andover, not only completed the 5 kilometers, but did it in impressive fashion.

    His time was 23:42 -- 7:38 per mile -- finishing 178th overall on the 3.1-mile course.

    "It was great," said Damon, who is expected to take the next step and run the Boston Marathon in April. "I think I lost to an 8-year-old, but that's OK. We lost one kid at the McDonald's," he joked.

    Damon's presence drew many adoring fans, who held signs along the route pledging support and hoping for a glimpse of the Cambridge native. Throughout the race he spoke to many runners and well-wishers.

    Boston College student and Salem, N.H., native Bethany Knight was one of the many female participants who were curious about Damon's appearance.

    "I'd try to hang with him, I probably wouldn't talk to him," said Knight about what she'd do if she met up with Damon during the race. "Everyone (at school) was like, bring a camera."

    Dartmouth student and Lander, Wyo., native Lindsay Pryor ran the race with her boyfriend, Brad Bate of North Andover, but Damon was on her mind.

    "I was chasing him for a while," said Pryor.

    One of the reasons Damon chose Andover to start his road racing career was the fact that his father, Kent Damon, is an Andover native. For nearly three years, Damon's brother Kyle, who has run several marathons and triathlons, has pushed his brother to run a marathon.

    "My brother called me. I was in Dubai (Middle East) shooting a movie," said Damon. "He said, you're getting up early and we're going to Andover."

    Race director Dave McGillivray was not only thrilled with Damon's place in the field yesterday, but he couldn't say enough about the actor's performance.

    "To run 7:38 per mile says something," said McGillivray, who met the movie star through his brother at a triathlon a few years ago. "Matt really was in good shape. He said he is running about five miles a day. You can see he is a good athlete. I hope he continues to take it seriously. I'm hoping he runs the Boston Marathon (in April) with his brother Kyle."

    The Damon influence

    Several runners yesterday had Matt Damon on their mind before, during and after yesterday's race. WEEI radio personality and Andover resident Gerry Callahan's first comments after running the 3.1 distance was, "Did I beat Matt Damon?"

    When informed that he hadn't beaten him, Callahan said, "(Damon's) young, he's probably on steroids."

    Others weren't too impressed that the megastar chose to run the shorter of the two races. Audra Shulman, of Brookline, ran the 5-mile race and laughingly chastised Damon for taking the easy way out.

    "What a wimp," she joking said.

    Andover's Maureen Rigazio was disappointing it was the movie star and not the baseball star with the same surname.

    "We thought it was Johnny Damon," said Rigazio.

  • More from the O12 press conference:

    Both Clooney and Damon made it into the puppet satire Team America: World Police as Hollywood actors duped by their own image and success.

    "I've always wanted to be a puppet," says Clooney, adding he "would have been offended if I hadn't been in the movie."

    Clooney explains he's "a friend of Trey Parker and Matt Stone. I helped them get (South Park) on TV and I was Sparky the gay dog in their movie. Part of the fun of being a celebrity is that can be made objects of satire."

    Damon adds: "George and I don't take ourselves seriously. If you're friends with comedians, you can always count on them to throw you in front of a bus for a good laugh."

  • Brian Cox talked about Matt (who he obviously doesn't know well at all) in this interview.

    Indeed, as well as X-Men 2, Cox starred in The Bourne Supremacy with Matt Damon and Troy with Brad Pitt. So how did he get on with his younger co-stars?

    "Both those young men are incredibly modest actually, and they were rather in awe of us older actors. "Especially Brad, with regards to myself and Peter O'Toole.

    "I got on particularly well with Brad. He is a lot shier than you would expect. He comes from a different background to Matt.

    "Matt's family are theatrical, so he's had it in his blood all his life, but Brad comes from a very simple family, but he is very dedicated. It was a joy to work with the two of them. There's a lot of responsibility when you are a $20 million movie star, and they genuinely don't take it lightly, they are very responsible."

  • This article, originally from the New York Times magazine, mentioned Syriana:

    Of course, it's not all blockbusters at the big studios these days. Warner Brothers, for example, is making Syriana with George Clooney. Described by many as one of the best scripts in Hollywood, it is a dark tale about the global oil business that intertwines Middle Eastern politics and a story-line involving the CIA...

    Strangely, politics, especially anti-American politics, just might have global appeal. Insiders guess that The Manchurian Candidate, with its vague Halliburton-esque conspiracy plot, is playing better to an anti-American international audience than it did in the US. Warner Bros has high hopes for the ambiguous villain in Syriana. "The enemy is a combination of global business and politics," Robinov says. "We think that will play well to international markets."

  • In George Clooney's new People magazine article, it is mentioned that Syriana has finished filming, and:

    During shooting in the Middle East, "we were in some places that you didn't really want to go out in," says Clooney, who's a coproducer on the film. "So Matt and I stayed in our hotel rooms [doing] a lot of eating."


11/26/2004
  • Matt ran in the five kilometre Feaster Five event in Andover on Thanksgiving, and came 178th in a field of 3,376 runners (14th in his age group). Matt's father Kent was in the same event (779th, or 7th in his age group), and brother Kyle came 52nd in the eight kilometre event (13th in his group). Photos of Matt, Kyle and Kent from the Boston Herald.

    Video footage of Matt at the race, and surrounded by enthusiastic fans, is at NECN news feed.


  • Scans from the Premiere magazine cover with Matt, George and Brad can be found at Ruth's George Clooney site. There's also a new George interview in today's People magazine and another group O12 interview at Edmonton Sun, including:

    It was Damon who became the brunt of the verbal sparring when the subject turned to People magazine's latest list of this year's sexiest men. Jude Law, Damon's co-star in The Talented Mr. Ripley, was named Sexiest Man. Damon tried to say it was Pitt who was most upset by the new list.

    "I'm great friends with Jude and I'm afraid Brad will retaliate in some way," said Damon, before he got the brunt of Pitt and Clooney's jokes.

    "Matt ran a great campaign this year. Brad and I gave him tips but Jude reached out to the online voters," says Pitt.

    Clooney gives Damon some hope when he points out that "Matt is on People's sexy list so he's like the runner-up in a Miss America contest. If Jude can't serve out his term properly Matt could actually be bumped up the list and take the crown."

    Damon says he's working hard to "get both George and Brad on the Sexiest-Man-Over-40 list. They both qualify now."

  • A story about the new Bourne Supremacy DVD is at Extra's site.


11/25/2004
  • Matt is scheduled to be on Late Show with David Letterman on Tuesday 30 November and The Tonight Show, with George Clooney also a scheduled guest, on 7 December. Then there's also the Primetime Live show with Diane Sawyer on 2 December and probably Oprah on an unknown date in the next few weeks.

  • Matt will be running in the Feaster Five on Thanksgiving morning. The official site is here.


11/23/2004
  • It looks like Matt and George will be promoting Ocean's Twelve on an upcoming Oprah show. The show's website has requests for fans to ask Matt or George a question and also for stories about the cast filming in Chicago.

  • Interview transcripts of the O12 cast from the junket are at The Insider and Access Hollywood. In the ET interview Matt was asked about Lucy and their relationship, and he replied that it was going great. ET was incorrect in stating they had been together for seven months - it's more like 14 months as Lucy was with Matt for his birthday in Prague in October 2003.

  • There's an O12 cast interview with absolutely no substance at The Toronto Star. And an interview in Italian with George mentions Syriana, including how there's only one location yet to film, Mexico, is at La Repubblica.

  • This Mid-Day.com article mentions a potential role for Matt with Harrison Ford, but the source is pretty dubious (and the expected producer's name was incorrectly spelled).

  • Christine has a new George Clooney site at the following address: Clooney Network.com.


11/20/2004
  • Promotions for Ocean's Twelve are continuing over this weekend. The first interview is at ET, with Matt and Catherine pictured at right. Cracks about Matt not winning the Sexiest Man Alive titled have returned. The Ocean's cast will be featured on an upcoming episode of Primetime Live with Diane Sawyer on 2 December, and more reports from the press junket will be on all the entertainment shows from next Monday.

  • A very positive review of the Syriana script is at Jo Blo.com.

  • Matt will run a five-mile race at Andover on Thanksgiving in preparation for the Boston Marathon next year. Details from the Eagle Tribune.

    Matt Damon to run the Feaster Five

    By Bill Burt, Eagle-Tribune Sports editor

    Matt Damon's ultimate goal is to do what his father did in the 1980s and what his brother did in the 1990s. And that's run The Boston Marathon in April.

    The 34-year-old Damon has chosen the Feaster Five Road Race on Thanksgiving morning in Andover as his first training ground.

    After finally quitting smoking recently, and with prodding from his brother Kyle, Damon has signed up to run the annual 5-mile road race through downtown Andover.

    Like the vast majority of the 8,000 or so participants on Thanksgiving morning, Damon will make it a family affair. His brother Kyle, who has run a few marathons and competed in several triathlons, will join him for the run.

    "We're a close family and we always spend the holidays together," said Kyle. "My dad golf's regularly at Andover Country Club. We have a lot of family on my dad's side in Andover."

    Kyle said he's been trying to get his brother on the roads for several years now. But cigarettes and a hectic schedule - he acted in four movies already released this year - seemed to get in the way. One of his most recent movies in which he starred, Bourne Supremacy, ranks as one of the top 10 grossing movies in 2004.

    This race next Thursday is the first step towards the most prestigious 26.2 mile-run in the world.

    "I've been bugging Matt for years to get into it," said Kyle. "He finally quit smoking, and we're running the Boston Marathon together next April. I've run it. My father has run it. Now Matt's up."

    Kyle said his famous brother, who is currently working overseas, is looking to break 40 minutes over the five-mile course, which would be sub 8-minute miles.

    "We can't stay long," said Kyle. "I promised my wife we'd rush back to help with the production of hosting Thanksgiving."


11/18/2004
  • Matt was named in People magazine's 'Sexiest Man Alive' issue as one of the "off the charts" sexy superstars. The following text appears with the photo (above) from the EW cover issue earlier this year:

    "Matt could be that guy who lives next door. He's strong and broad but also has soft eyes," says Serena Williams of the 34-year-old star. As for what's behind those eyes, and his famously broad grin: "He's not spoiled," says Bourne Supremacy producer Paul Sandberg. "He's just a good guy, and everyone likes him." After Ocean's Twelve, look for Damon in the thriller Syriana with George Clooney.

  • George and Catherine Zeta-Jones will appear on Australian TV show Rove Live next Tuesday, presumably in a pre-taped interview from this weekend's junket. A French magazine with a new pic of the O12 cast on the cover is here.

  • Natasha wrote about a short segment on Extra featuring Matt:

    Matt was on EXTRA talking about his desire to work with Soderbergh again as a major reason he signed on for O12. They showed a few minutes of the cast filming a jail scene intercut with Matt's comments. He basically said he trusted Soderbergh so implicitly that he would have returned for the sequel without a script, and, shedding light on his character development, he tells us that Linus aspires to be like Rusty and Danny and run the crew.


11/17/2004
  • Matt, Brad and George are on the cover of the upcoming issue of Premiere magazine, pictured at right. ET showed some more photos on their show Tuesday, and some text is online. The magazine is in stores from 23 November.

  • More complications for The Departed's plans to film in Boston are detailed at the Herald.

    Hub movie may bypass Bay State since it's too taxing to film here

    By Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa

    Martin Scorcese's new flick "The Departed" is about a war between the Boston cops and an Irish-American gang. It's written by a Boston native and stars our favorite Cambridge homey, Matt Damon. But chances are, they'll film it in Canada.

    Unless, of course, the Legislature gets a move on - for a change - and comes up with some economic incentives for Hollywood to bring projects to the Bay State.

    Robin Dawson, head of the Mass. Film Bureau, said Scorcese is in the throes of budgeting for the Warner Bros./Miramax flick that also stars A-lister Leonardo DiCaprio.

    And right now, Boston's not only losing out to Canada, we're in third place behind New York!

    "Naturally, Scorcese wants it to be as authentic as possible, but it's a budgeting issue," Dawson said. "Without some state-funded support, it's unlikely we can land this project.'"

    Canada offers huge tax incentives for Hollywood, and New York recently passed some tax relief as well.

    Other states that have enacted similar measures have seen film work quadruple, Dawson said.

    "It's the Film Bureau's intention to provide free sound-stage space, very competitive hotel rates and the Teamsters are working hard to come up with a competitive contract," she said. "We're meeting with legislators to explore limited tax incentives.'"

  • The UK Empire magazine has new photos and stories on both Ocean's Twelve and Brothers Grimm in their latest issue.


11/15/2004
  • Matt was named by Details magazine in their October issue as the 17th Most Powerful Man Under 38. This text appeared with a close-up pic of Matt from Arena magazine.

    Matt Damon, Actor, Screenwriter, Age: 34

    This summer, after several years in Affleck-saturation mode, America rediscovered Matt Damon. While his ex-Good Will Hunting pal was off talking policy with John Kerry, Damon was doing what movie stars are supposed to do: delivering a big hit movie. The Bourne Supremacy has grossed more than $140 million to date, thereby achieving an all-too-rare Hollywood coup: a sequel that's more potent than its predecessor.

    The fluidity of persona has been a theme in a lot of Damon's movies - The Talented Mr Ripley, The Bourne Identity - and now his own Hollywood character is taking solid form. With one shrewd business decision (and actual adherence to a good script), Damon has established a new kind of generational icon: the neurotic anti-007.

    "He has franchise possibilities because he's not just riffing on Bond," says John Cork, co-author of James Bond: The Legacy. Up next, Ocean's 12: because Damon also knows that the worst thing a movie star can do is be famous for something other than making movies.

  • According to this Mexican article, the press junket for Ocean's Twelve with Matt, George, Brad, Catherine, Andy and Don will be held in Palm Springs this weekend.

  • Julia Roberts talked about her O12 co-stars in this article, including:

    And of course, there was the attraction of all those leading men in Ocean's Twelve. Roberts flashes her trademark 1,000-watt smile as she describes her co-stars: "George Clooney is hilarious, the master joker, at it 24 hours a day. And Brad Pitt is sunshine: he has such a sunny disposition. Matt Damon is the sweetest... you want your son to be just like him."

  • Don Cheadle talked about the film to eurweb.com.

    "When the cameras aren't rolling, it's not much different than when the cameras are rolling, it's just fun," Cheadle says of his A'list co-stars George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac and Catherine Zeta Jones. "Really, [director] Steven [Soderbergh] had to do all of the heavy lifting in order to keep those knuckleheads in line.

    "I think the film is better than 'Ocean's Eleven'," he adds. "It's a lot more cinematic, it's a lot more Technicolor, the music is more exciting - everything about it is just more. We went all over the world, so you're really getting to see all the different views and geographical locations, and they're all incorporated very well into the story. Steven did a great job, I don't know how he did it. Everyday on the set, we were like, Does he really know what he's doing?' But you gotta believe in Steven, because he always brings it. Always."

  • Matt, George and Brad will attend the Tokyo premiere of Ocean's Twelve next January - from here.

  • Actor Paul Walker has joined Denzel Washington in wishing he was part of the Bourne franchise - from Moviehole.

    He isn't done with franchises though, he says. He just wants a good one.

    "I'd do another franchise, I think the best franchise going - I haven't seen the sequel yet, but I loved "Bourne Identity." Fuck, man, I'd do something like that".

  • The three easter eggs on the Rounders Special Edition DVD are described at cheatserver.com.

  • Terry Gilliam talks about the distribution problems with The Brothers Grimm to timeout.com, including:

    'The Brothers Grimm' is a $90 million period epic starring Matt Damon and Heath Ledger which Gilliam shot last year in Prague. A troubled production from the start, it has been delayed by the uncertainty surrounding Miramax and Dimension Films.

    As for 'Grimm', the signs are mixed. Gilliam is pretty upbeat about the results, if not the process. 'I'm not supposed to talk about it,' he says. 'I'm keeping my lips very closed until we know where it ends up.''

    This isn't just discretion, it's by legal agreement with Miramax. In return, the director hopes to get approval for his cut of the film. Ironically, the recent corporate confusion at Miramax has allowed him the luxury of putting the film aside for four months so that he can return to fine-tune it with fresh eyes. Nevertheless, it's clear from the comments of some of his team that the production was anything but easy.

    Even before cameras rolled, the Weinsteins made their presence felt in a last-minute intervention overruling the casting of Samantha Morton as the female lead. (The role eventually went to Lena Headey.) Then, early in the marathon 111-day shoot, Gilliam's DP Nicola Pecorini got his marching orders. 'I prepped the movie, started it, then they decided it was a bad thing Gilliam was shooting the movie the way Gilliam wanted to, so they fired me,' the Italian explains, back at his friend's side on 'Tideland'. He adds: 'Of course, he shot it his way anyway.'

    One thing Gilliam will discuss is the budget discrepancy between the two films. 'Brothers Grimm' has 750 fx shots in it. They built villages and entire forests; it's the most expensive film he's made. 'I think it?s going to look amazing,' he says. 'But the pressure! It cost a quarter of a million dollars a day to shoot it. Imagine what that feels like. You find yourself waiting 45 minutes for something, and you go crazy - $50,000 disappears just like that.'


11/11/2004
  • An Australian edition of Project Greenlight was announced this week. Details from moviehole and the Herald-Sun.

    "It's our conviction that the next Baz Luhrmann is out there looking for an avenue to get their work seen," Damon told the Herald Sun.

    "I'm all for it. We always talked about exporting the concept because to us it was about proving that there is a different avenue for movies to get made," Damon said.

    "There was no reason it couldn't be done in England, in Australia, in India. It can be done in any country where there's a thriving film business and enough computers."

    Bob Campbell, Executive Producer for Screentime, said: "Screentime is delighted to be associated with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's great concept for identifying and nurturing new talent. Project Greenlight is a unique opportunity for Screentime to partner MOVIE NETWORK in an ambitious project and to employ both our entertainment and drama departments in one project. We are confident Project Greenlight will be compelling viewing as the process of the selection of a director or a writer-director team evolves into the making of the feature film. It will also provide the winner with a great one-off opportunity and a huge promotional platform to launch the movie."

  • Bernie Mac talks about the off-set antics of Ocean's Twelve to Playboy - as reported at manhunt.

    On his Ocean's Twelve co-stars: "We played poker, had cigars, had dinners all the time, parties. It was just a good time. Jerry Weintraub, the producer, might be a pain in the ass, but he really knows how to treat his actors. Top-shelf. We were the Rat Pack."


11/08/2004
  • There's virtually no news available about the filming of Syriana, whether in Dubai or elsewhere. A report at the CBS website mentions the name of the actor who will be playing Matt's son:

    While attending kindergarten and appearing on Guiding Light, 5 year old Nicholas Art (who plays the character of Zach Spaulding) has been traveling around the world shooting the upcoming movie Syriana starring George Clooney and Matt Damon. Nicholas will be playing Matt Damon's son Riley and the movie is expected to be released in late 2005.

  • The Departed looks to be filming in Boston next March (according to the Boston Herald below), but there are some internal conflicts over who will manage the actual production in Massachusetts - from the Globe and the Herald.

    Cambridge homey Matt Damon and fellow Hollywood It Boy Leonardo DiCaprio will begin the Boston filming of "The Departed," Martin Scorsese's remake of "Infernal Affairs," in March. (Add hootin' and hollerin' here.)

    Matt - who's been in Europe filming a CIA flick called "Syriana," with his good buddy, George Clooney - will play a mobster who infiltrates the police department while Leo, an undercover cop, assimilates into the mob.

  • However, it has also been reported that The Informant will commence filming next spring, which is likely to be incorrect.

  • Another two pictures from Syriana's shoot in Geneva are at the Geneva Film Commission's website.

  • New stills from Ocean's Twelve appeared online last week at flickaddict.com.

  • Another Matt v Ben article was written by Peter Bart in Variety (with one major error).

    How can two friends who started in the same place veer off onto such sharply divergent paths? Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were golden boys after "Good Will Hunting." They could write, they could act, they were sharp and articulate in interviews. They shared the same agent, Patrick Whitesell of Endeavor (also sharp and articulate).

    And look at them now. Damon is a $20 million player as a result of "The Bourne Identity" franchise.

    And Brother Ben? A "Gigli" can happen to anyone, but with Affleck it's become a syndrome. Witness "Jersey Girl" and "Surviving Christmas." He's Mr. Bland in films, a strident Kerry supporter in politics -- and, of course, there was Jennifer Lopez. Talk about mixed messages!

    Now Ben is showing survival instincts. He's trying to vanish from public view to finish a script, "Man About Town," a low-budget indie about a talent agent whose wife is cheating on him. (But, for a bright guy, he still can't keep his foot out of his mouth. In the November Details, Affleck opines: "I'm tired of doing the movies I'm best known for..." No kidding!)

    Matt Damon, too, is going the indie route with an espionage drama called "Syriana," but again taking the more orthodox route. George Clooney is also in "Syriana" and Steven Soderbergh is the producer. And, of course, Damon is coming off of "Ocean's Twelve."

    Two different guys, two different routes on a dicey playing field.

  • A similar Matt v Ben article is partly online at the Parade website.

  • Gomantak Times journalist Reuven Provença has previously provided this site, very generously, with photos and articles relating to Matt's time in Goa during the filming of The Bourne Supremacy. Reuven has kindly provided a transcript of an article he wrote for the Society Magazine of India, whose website is found here. An abbreviated version of the article is below, and the related photos (below and above) are by Ross Vaze (who is pictured with Matt and Franka). My thanks again to Reuven and Ross.

    Mr Congeniality

    By Reuven Proença

    Good guys don't get much better than this. Particularly when they are Oscar-winning Hollywood stars with multi-million dollar bank accounts who count Ben Affleck and George Clooney as friends. When Matt Damon - star of box office hits like Good Will Hunting, Ocean's Eleven, Stuck On You, and The Bourne Identity - spent a few weeks in Goa earlier this year, he earned himself a whole legion of fans with his humility and easygoing attitude.

    While Goa is no stranger to movie sets, the general impression of movie 'stars' is one of stereotyped Bollywood macho men who try and look like God's gift to the Universe: muscles bulging, upturned nose, tough-guy frown, et al. Damon, on the other hand, with his dressed-down style and quirky boyish looks made for a refreshing change.

    No one witnessed this better than Ross Vaze, who drove the actor around Goa throughout the 16 days that The Bourne Supremacy was shot at locations across the state.

    "Initially it was a little scary for me and I had butterflies in my stomach. It isn't everyday that you get to meet a Hollywood star and drive him around the place," Ross confesses. But, as it turned out, his fears were unfounded. He remembers Damon turning around to him minutes after collecting his baggage at the airport and saying, "So you're the guy who's going to keep me busy for the next couple of weeks. Glad to have you around."

    And this was only the beginning. Good guy Damon got better when he checked into the Taj Fort Aguada Beach Resort and took his own bags up to his room. "He carried his own bags and I helped him with a few extras. He didn't ask for a bellhop. It struck me then that he wasn't one of those celebrities who expect or even demand that people wait on them," Ross says, adding that the memory is still very vivid and not something that he will forget soon.

    "He was definitely not a standoffish person. He was basically a sweet guy and very, very courteous, something I didn't expect. He was a gentleman through and through."

    The actor was joined at the hotel by his chef, Jon, bodyguard, Mamadou, physical trainer, Shawn and body-double Johnny Cicco. Staff at the hotel, on the condition of anonymity, said that Damon treated the members of his entourage like friends rather than staff and that the five of them would often sit by the pool drinking beers while watching the waves crash down on Sinquerim beach.

    Early on the morning of 8th March, Damon headed to Panjim where the crew was filming the scene where Karl Urban's character inquires about Jason Bourne at the post office. Even as excited crowds gathered around the sets, Damon - dressed in three-quarter cargoes and a sweaty T-shirt - had no hassles about walking, unescorted, around the Panjim Church Square.

    It was during one of these walks that this writer managed to meet up with him. "I love Goa and I'll definitely be coming back for more," Matt had said, before obliging a couple of media photographers by posing for them. When his bodyguard tried to intervene, Damon shushed him saying, "It's no problem man."

    While filming at other locations he would make it a point to mix with the locals and talk to them, though many did not know who he was.

    While the film's production units moved to Palolem beach Damon stayed at the Grand Intercontinental there. It was here, towards the end of the shoot, that he hosted a party for the crew. On the last day of the Palolem leg, Damon even fooled around with his crew and sprinkled them with colourful powder, Holi style.

    Damon's honest-to-goodness kindness was never more evident than when he visited Baga beach the day before leaving Goa. Ross describes the visit: "He traveled back to the Taj and I later took him shopping along the coastal belt. He stayed away from the larger establishments and chose instead to patronize the smaller shops.

    "He picked up a few Kashmiri handicrafts and some jewelry from one of those small shops on Baga beach. He liked the Hawaiian print shirts that the shops sold. Well, I did bargain for him but he ended up giving them a little more than what I bargained for since he thought the price was too low and felt that he shouldn't be bargaining since he could afford to pay," he adds in mock exasperation.

    "Whenever he saw some street kids he would put some cash into their hands and buy them soft drinks or chocolate bars. He even played with the stray dogs on the beach and fed them battawadas which he bought from a street vendor there."

    He continues, "Whenever we were traveling he always sat up front with me. It was never like a driver-passenger relationship. We became friends during that time and we still keep in touch via email. At times, I thought that he was too simple to be true. But then that was who he is."

    (The author is a Goa-based journalist working with the Gomantak Times newspaper.)


11/01/2004
  • The site will not be updated again until 8 November.

  • More pictures from the filming of Syriana at the Jardin Anglais in Geneva are from Who magazine.



  • The email address to contact the site owner has been removed until further notice.



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