Acting for top directors a joy, education for Matt Damon

Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:24pm EDT
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By Janelle Tipton

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - This month, at the ripe old age of 39, Matt Damon will receive the 24th American Cinematheque Award for his work in film -- and the timing couldn't be better: His action-thriller "Green Zone" opened March 12 and he has four other movies slated for this year: The Coen brothers' remake of "True Grit," the Philip K. Dick adaptation "The Adjustment Bureau," Clint Eastwood's unearthly "Hereafter" and Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion." And, as he told The Hollywood Reporter, he almost made "Avatar," too.

THR: How do you expect working with the Coens on "True Grit" to compare with Clint Eastwood?

Damon: Well, I know from talking to people that their styles are very different. The Coen brothers actually give you their storyboards. If you go on a movie set, normally you get the day's sides: The lines will be broken down onto miniature sheets of paper, so you can see what work is being shot that day. The Coen brothers give you those, but they give you storyboards as well, so you can look and go, "OK, I'm in the second shot, I'm in the fourth and fifth shots." And they stay, from what I'm told, pretty closely to the storyboards. They've basically planned it all out long before they ever get there.

THR: Is it a coincidence that you're doing two Eastwood films back to back, "Invictus" and "Hereafter," which you've just wrapped?

Damon: I was really lucky that there were two roles I could do in a Clint movie. The thing about Clint is, he keeps the same people together. The department where there's turnover is the acting department, because different movies require different casts. Every actor is always desperate to work with him again, and I just got really lucky. But I'm dying to work with him (again). I told him I'm totally, unabashedly just lobbying for work from him every time I see him, cause it's just really a great experience.

THR: Did he go about the two movies differently?

Damon: No, the process was the same. He's extremely fluent in the language of filmmaking, so he knows exactly how he wants to tell the story. It's a very streamlined process.

THR: Do you have a favorite director?   Continued...

<p>Actor Matt Damon poses for a portrait while promoting the film "Green Zone" in New York, February 26, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>