• Guy Jeffries

*Star Profile: Matt Damon*


Star Profile #3 is requested by Ironman in training Max, (gonna start calling you IronMax I think) a segment that will cover actors, directors and even composers featuring TEN of the their most iconic roles or films and not necessarily their best but for what they are most recognised and remembered for. Maybe take an unresearched guess at what the films might be.

Matt Daaaaaaaamon. The talented actor of films like The Legend of Bagger Vance, Elysium, Adjustment Bureau, Green Zone, Syriana, Contagion, Stuck on You, True Grit, The Informant and voice actor for Spirit, Titan A.E., Happy Feet 2 and even provided his voice of the English dubbed Ponyo for Studio Ghibli.

He got into acting skipping classes whilst taking an English Major at Harvard. Where he wrote his Oscar winning film that gave him the big break he was struggling for. And he did struggle, getting small walk-on parts in films like Mystic Pizza (1988) and an uncredited extra in Field of Dreams. (1989) Leading into School Ties in 1992. he dropped out of Harvard all together hoping Geronimo (1993) would be a massive hit but unfortunately wasn't even a great video success. Things started looking up with Zwick's Courage Under Fire (1996) which ultimately got him the lead role in Coppola's John Grisham adaption, The Rainmaker (1997)

He's made many good friends along his career namely George Clooney and Brad Pitt who still regularly meet for charity events. I think Pitt and Damon having cameo appearances together in Clooney's directorial debut Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is a good example of their friendship. He's also a good friend of Kevin Smith, having starred in four of his movies. But one good friend he has always had, and since childhood, is of course Ben Affleck.

He's a family man, married with four children and has a great sense of humour, which both Jimmy Kimmel and Kevin Smith can vouch for. He's very charitable, being involved with H2O Africa, ONE campaign and even flying to Haiti to deliver food after the Hurricane disaster.

Though not the first to play Patricia Highsmith's character of Thomas Ripley, Damon played the suave psychopath in Anthony Minghella's (English Patient, Cold Mountain) The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

In 1998 we see Damon in a relative small role as the title character in Spielberg's war epic, Saving Private Ryan. Damon hadn't won either the academy award or recognition when he was casted as Pvt. Ryan, Spielberg actually wanting an unknown actor. I think it worked out greatly for both parties.

Damon played South African rugby captain Francois Pienaar oppose Morgan Freeman's Nelson Mandela in Clint Eastwood's Invictus (2009) He would then star in Eastwood's next project, Hereafter the following year.

Quite possibly the only real poker film in existence, John Dahl's Rounders (1998) we see Damon as poker grinder Mike McDermott with Edward Norton and John Malkovich. In preparation for the role he entered the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas with a $10,000 buy-in surviving four days; only to lose, to Poker legend Doyle Brunson. Damon holding pocket cowboys versus Brunson's pocket rockets. "How do you like them apples?"

Now Damon, along with his buddy Affleck, starred in four of Kevin Smith's films, Chasing Amy, Jersey Girl and an uncredited parody of themselves in Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back. But Damon's key Smith role was playing evil genius, fallen angel, Loki.

Not use to seeing Damon playing the bad guy in Scorsese's reboot of Hong Kong's Infernal Affairs, Departed, taking Andy Lau part as the police mole. It worked, and though it's a great movie, I still prefer the original.

Not the first time we've seen Damon stuck in space but I'm not going spoil it because I spoil everything else. We see Damon science the shit out of trying to get home being stranded on Mars in Ridley Scott's The Martian. (2015) Pretty much Cast Away in space but with tech and SMS. Anyone for jacket potato?

The Ocean's trilogy starting in 2001, forms the basis of the Clooney/Pitt friendship. Damon playing the young ambitious grifter Linus Caldwell AKA Lenny Pepperage, Little Timmy Hartwell and Sheldon Willis. His character is the butt of the crew's jokes but he plays his part or parts well in all three of the comedy capers.

Good Will Hunting was written by Damon and Affleck whilst at Harvard, as an assignment with some help from director Rob Reiner, Screenplay writer and novelist, William Goldman the man who wrote The Princess Bride, and also Kevin Smith. The film was a massive success, earning both of Damon and Affleck the Oscar for best written Screenplay, Robin Williams the Oscar for best supporting actor and another seven nominations including Best Director for Gus Van Sant and Best Actor for Damon. The script itself was incredible with some of the best script pieces in movie history, just check Williams comeback about his beloved painted and Will Hunting's reason behind not working for the NSA. This was the big break that got Damon out there, the film grossed more than $225m and Damon received a salary of $600,000 and a clear path to success. I'm saying too much, this will have to be a definite throwback review.

Jason Bourne, I remember when this film was released back in 2002 being surprised at the casting of Damon, thinking, 'Damon as a super spy?' It was a notion I could not take seriously until eventually watching it. It paved the new style for spy films and I believe, as I have blogged about before (see "Be More Bourne") made the genre grow up and inspired films like James Bond and Taken to follow suit. Completing the first three, he refused to carry on unless Paul Greengrass was at the helm. The studio wanted to keep the franchise going resulting in Tony Gilroy bring Jeremy Renner's Aaron Cross into the fray. But good news, Greengrass is back in the chair and Damon returns from AWOL for this year's Bourne. Could Bourne and Cross, cross paths?

There you have it, the amazing talented Mr. Damon deserves all the success having worked with some the greatest people in the business. Does make me wonder if he has ever considered directing himself. He has produced quite a lot for TV, Gus Van Sant's Promised Land and this year's Manchester By The Sea which is due to be releases this Christmas.

Thanks for reading and please, comment or tweet me who you'll like to be featured. I have to leave you with the awesome monologue from Good Will Hunting here, remembering he wrote this, and he has a point. Enjoy!

#MattDamon

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