Humble Damon cheers Oscar hopeful, friend Ben Affleck

Fri Feb 8, 2013 3:14pm EST
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By Mike Collett-White

BERLIN (Reuters) - It seems that wherever Matt Damon goes to promote his movies he is asked about something else altogether - his old friend and collaborator Ben Affleck, whose Iranian hostage drama "Argo" is in the running for a Best Picture Oscar.

Damon shared a screenplay Academy Award with Affleck for the 1997 film "Good Will Hunting" and has gone on to become one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, with blockbusters including the "Ocean's Eleven" and "Bourne Identity" series.

He was in Berlin on Friday for the festival premiere of "Promised Land", a tale set in rural America that tackles the controversial gas extraction technique known as "fracking".

At a news conference following the press screening, the 42-year-old did not have to wait long for a question about Affleck, and, once again, he lavished praise on an actor who he said had endured his share of tough times.

"His life is so interesting that I kind of never get tired of talking (about it)," Damon joked.

Of the critical acclaim and string of awards for "Argo," he said: "I'm really happy for him. He certainly deserves it."

"He's worked so hard and he's taken it on the chin for years from the press and just from everywhere. He was really in a rough spot 10 years ago," Damon told reporters, referring to the ridicule Affleck suffered during his romance with Jennifer Lopez and their 2003 movie flop "Gigli."

The actor recalled Affleck once telling him he was "in the worst place you could be career-wise: I sell magazines and I don't sell movie tickets'."   Continued...

Actor Matt Damon arrives for the screening of the film 'Promised Land' at the 63rd Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin February 8, 2013. REUTERS/Thomas Peter