Matt Damon is just one of those irreplaceable classic movie stars that you can’t always see or count on when they first start, but you’re lucky to have them once they’ve grown into that role. The lucky mofos as Vulture managed to snag some casual time with Damon and got the skinny on a whole heap of stuff, including his bit part in Terry Gilliam’s Zero Theorem, how things are going with his HBO Liberace movie, what’s up with his Van Sant movie Promised Land, and what’s in the cards for his producing endeavors with Ben Affleck.
This all took place at a screening of Affleck’s Argo, about which Damon also had some strongly encouraging (and completely earned) praise to spill.
I’d be shocked if it’s not one of the Best Pictures. It really is. And they snubbed him last time. The Town was great, and Gone Baby Gone was wonderful, too, so hopefully that means something.
The most meaty chunks of conversation came from his revelation that he’ll be in Gilliam’s odd sci-fi project Zero Theorem, if only for a very small role. This info all spilled out over questions about a bald head, in fact.
I’m just doing a very small part in it. Someone finally gave him money to do this one, thank God. It’s with Christoph Waltz and Tilda Swinton. I’d do anything for Terry. It’s been ten years since I last worked with him. I wrote Terry this whole e-mail, because we had this whole conversation about what the character would look like, because the story takes place in the future, but he had a specific look that he wanted, but then I had to [points to shaved head], and I said, “Terry, what should we do?” And he said, “Actually, we can take advantage of the fact that your head is shaved. Why don’t we change your hairline?”
As for Behind The Candelabra, he reveals that the HBO film will follow the cable network’s trend of debuting the film at a festival before airing, and that this particular film will premiere at Cannes. He also talks about recreating the ferocious dynamic between the two lovers in the film, which obviously involved some intimate times with Michael Douglas, who plays Liberace.
A lot of interesting love scenes with him, yeah! [Grins.] But you know, look: We knew what movie we signed up for, and it’s a really interesting, the dynamic between the two characters, and a lot like a marriage. So we had a lot of experience, both of us, in that regard, so it’s really unique, just the power dynamic between them and the craziness of their lives. I mean, he was the biggest performer in the world, and what that did to their dynamic, and at the same time, they’re like an old married couple.
And finally here’s a bit where he clarifies how he sees himself as a producer, and what he hopes/expects from his partnership with Affleck in the producing game.
I think Ben and I are, with our production company now, are gearing up to do that [meaning, produce more films they aren’t actually in]. I wouldn’t count it out. So I think we’re about to start doing more of that, but we haven’t yet, up to now. I mean, I’ve executive-produced things like documentaries, but I haven’t just produced a film yet. Producing is a real trade. I know in this business, people will take a credit if they can get it, but I want to treat it like a real thing. Because we know so many great producers, we wouldn’t want to take advantage of it.
Really the entire interview is worth a read, as there’s not a lot of juicy material so much as Damon spinning his off-the-cuff perspective on a big batch of topics. Hearing how he decided to hand off directing of Promised Land to Van Sant for example, or what he thinks will set his sci-fi film Elysium apart from other project are all worth giving the interview a skim.