Matt Damon is in Venice to promote and premiere two films, Downsizing and Suburbicon. Matty D sat down for a lengthy interview with The Hollywood Reporter ahead of this evening premiere of Surburbicon (the interview was probably done days ago) and he chatted a lot about the George Clooney-directed film, and the political situation in America today. Matty D has always been a politically liberal guy, even if he has had some blind spots when it comes to race and diversity issues. Obviously, he’s appalled by Trump and appalled by the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville and more. You can read the full THR piece here. Some highlights:
Whether he takes characters home, or personalizes his characters: “No. As a younger actor, I did that — you spin your wheels a lot. I heard Anthony Hopkins once say that the older he got, the more refined his process became, and he wasted a lot less energy. It’s not that you’re working less, it’s just that you’re working more efficiently. But you are available to what’s happening around you. The last monologue in the movie was [shot] the week of the election, and the shock of Trump winning — everyone, the people who voted for him and the one’s who didn’t, experienced this incredible “Oh my God, he won!” So there was something in the air, that rage. George and I talked about it, and that’s the third rail we were trying to touch in that scene.
The darkness of ‘Suburbicon’ in Trump’s America: “We made the movie last year and it’s incredible to see what’s happened in Charlottesville. It’s horrible. A lot of people, myself included, are really waking up to the extent of the existing racism, and it’s so much worse than I naively thought. I just feel naïve at this point. It was shocking to see those kids — they looked 20 and 30 years old — in button-down shirts, with Tiki torches, walking down the street. I thought, “Those people are a lot younger than me. Who raised them?” Again, I naively thought that, behind our generation, [another one] was coming with more awareness and inclusiveness, and that everything was getting better with each generation. And to see these young, aggrieved, white boys walking with their torches and screaming “Jews will not replace us!” It was just shocking. Then the night that the President [made his] “many sides” comment was absolutely abhorrent. Sadly, I feel the movie was made at the right time.
Whether he’s ever met Trump: “No. The deal was that if you wanted to shoot in one of his buildings, you had to write him in a part. [Director] Martin Brest had to write something in Scent of a Woman — and the whole crew was in on it. You have to waste an hour of your day with a bullsh-t shot: Donald Trump walks in and Al Pacino’s like, “Hello, Mr. Trump!” — you had to call him by name — and then he exits. You waste a little time so that you can get the permit, and then you can cut the scene out. But I guess in Home Alone 2 they left it in.
Whether he feels he should use his celebrity voice to speak out on politics: “Look, everybody’s got a voice at this point and everybody’s shouting their opinions. But I’m obviously very concerned with the state of things and with the damage that’s being done to our institutions; it’s just very pernicious what he’s doing. Robert Mueller is kind of representing these institutions at this point, and just by some trick of history he’s the one who’s essentially defending them against these attacks, so hopefully his investigation is going smoothly. He can’t wrap things up soon enough, as far as I’m concerned. I thought Jimmy Kimmel’s line was the best, when he said that Trump said there were fine people on both sides, and showed the clip of the guys screaming “Jews will not replace us,” and cut back to Jimmy saying: “Let’s get something straight. If you’re with a group of people chanting “Jews will not replace us” and you don’t immediately leave that group, you are not a fine person.”
“A lot of people, myself included, are really waking up to the extent of the existing racism, and it’s so much worse than I naively thought. I just feel naïve at this point.” This is what’s happening around the country – all of those people are finally waking up to the fact that this sh-t has been happening for so long. The Trump presidency has made all of the creepy-crawlies climb out from underneath their rocks. Trump has legitimized them and given them a platform. And now so many white folks are shook. At least Matty D owns that.
Damon was also asked if there was a recent film he really loved, and he cited Moonlight: “I absolutely loved that film and I saw it three times…” It was sort of brilliant, in retrospect, how they marketed that film to appeal to white liberals, isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, I loved Moonlight too and it’s an amazing movie. But the film won the Best Picture Oscar because it was brilliantly marketed to Hollywood’s white liberals, who felt guilty about #OscarsSoWhite, Donald Trump and more.
Photos courtesy of WENN.