Matt Damon is one the cover of GQ for their January, 2012 issue. As opposed to his sexy Parade cover, which just happens to be sitting on my desk next to me (despite the fact that I’ve already read it of course), he looks rough. Maybe I just like him when he’s not smiling and looks a little surly, but they also Photoshopped his lips pink so it looks like he’s wearing lipstick. Plus his chin looks too long to me. The photos of Damon inside are decent an he’s even wearing a tight revealing t-shirt in one of them. You can see the slideshow here. Matt doesn’t say much we haven’t heard from him before in the interview, but he does dish a little dirt about the Bourne franchise.
MATT DAMON ON OBAMA’S COMMENTS ABOUT HIM AT THE WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS’ DINNER:
Over the years, he has spoken up about public-school teachers (he supports them), the middle class (he thinks they’re getting the shaft), and President Obama (he feels he’s not delivering on his promise). At the White House Correspondents’ dinner this year, Obama responded directly, saying, “Matt Damon said he was disappointed in my performance. Well, Matt, I just saw The Adjustment Bureau…”
Damon tells me he didn’t see that speech live but got thirty e-mails from friends the next morning and watched the president’s remarks online. “I have to say, it was pretty funny,” he says, getting in his own dig: “Whoever came up with it, it was a terrific joke.”
ON WALKING AWAY FROM THE BOURNE FRANCHISE:
With the Bourne franchise, which has earned more than $1 billion worldwide, he has proved his box-office clout. And then he turned his back on it, at least temporarily. What other A-lister would have walked away from the fourth Bourne film (and an estimated $20 million payday) because, he says, he and director Paul Greengrass felt that the tight timetable set by the studio would endanger its chances of being good?
Damon says they had no choice. “If you look at the first three movies, we kind of pounded that idea of identity and amnesia into the ground. We really got everything out of it that we could. So to reboot it, we need to come up with something completely new,” he says, explaining why the eleven-month turnaround that Universal Pictures wanted didn’t feel doable.
He says he’s “really pulling for this one, even though I don’t have anything to do with it. Selfishly, it’s bad for me if that movie doesn’t do well.” He says he still feels “inoculated” by the franchise—as if it protects him from having to do anything that could be bad for him. “It feels like I can swing freely, like a baseball player—just be relaxed and really do the things that I want to do and not worry, because I know there’s another one out there.”
…ON TONY GILROY, THE WRITER/DIRECTOR BEHIND THE BOURNE FILMS (INCLUDING THE FOURTH):
Damon says that back in 2001, when the first Bourne movie, The Bourne Identity, was still in postproduction, Gilroy saw a rough cut and got worried. “The word on Bourne was that it was supposed to be a turkey,” Damon says. “It’s very rare that a movie comes out a year late, has four rounds of reshoots, and it’s good. So Tony Gilroy arbitrated against himself to not be the writer with sole credit… to have another guy take the bullet with him.” And so someone named William Blake Herron is now cashing residual checks on Bourne, just like Gilroy is. (Actually Damon may have gotten his chronology wrong—one source says Herron initiated the credit dispute, but that Gilroy didn’t oppose sharing credit.)
Gilroy wrote Bourne 2 as well: The Bourne Supremacy. Then, Damon says, for The Bourne Ultimatum, the third in the franchise, Gilroy struck a deal to write just one draft of the script, take no notes, do no rewrites, and get paid “an exorbitant amount of money.”
“It’s really the studio’s fault for putting themselves in that position,” Damon says. “I don’t blame Tony for taking a boatload of money and handing in what he handed in. It’s just that it was unreadable. This is a career-ender. I mean, I could put this thing up on eBay and it would be game over for that dude. It’s terrible. It’s really embarrassing. He was having a go, basically, and he took his money and left.”
In his Parade interview that was out this Sunday, Damon said essentially the same thing about Obama’s joke about him at the Correspondent’s dinner. He said “Anybody with a sense of humor is okay on my list.” I don’t really grasp the politics of the Bourne movies, but I wonder if Damon is throwing Gilroy or the studio under the bus by admitting that the guy cashed in and delivered a script that was unreadable.
There’s more in the full article on GQ, including the tidbit that Damon and Ben Affleck are working on another script together. We’ve heard for some time that they were working on some sort of baseball wife swap movie, based on a true story. That seems to be on hold indefinitely, and Damon told GQ they’re working on a biopic of an Irish mobster from Boston named James “Whitey” Bulger. Affleck will direct and Damon will star as Bulger. It will take a while before that comes to fruition, though, as Damon is going to work on a screenplay with John Krasinski first.
Here are Damon and his wife, Lucy, at the NY premiere of We Bought a Zoo last night, He still looks weird to me without hair, but I like that he’s rocking it.
Update: As Lainey points out, Damon backtracked on those comments about Tony Gilroy. He called up the journalist and said “If I didn’t respect him and appreciate his talent, then I really wouldn’t have cared… My feelings were hurt. That’s all. And that’s exactly why I shouldn’t have said anything. This is between me and him. So saying anything publicly is f’ing stupid and unprofessional and just kind of douchey of me.”
Photo credit: Ben Watts/GQ and WENN.com