Matt Damon: John Krasinski had an ‘unfair burden he had to smash through’ from TV

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I used to be such a Matt Damon stan I didn’t like it when Kaiser covered him, he was MINE. I watched The Bourne movies multiple times, I admired what an outspoken activist he used to be, and he was so hot to me, even with a dad bod. Then he showed his ass multiple times. There was his whitesplaining to a WOC producer about diversity, his defense of playing a white lead in an Asian movie, and then his horrible take on MeToo really put it over the top. He tried to dial it back eventually and he did apologize. We haven’t heard of him being abusive or inappropriate, but Damon is a white dude who can’t see beyond his perspective and will always be on the side of men like him. (Also I’m still mad at him for the time I wasted watching Downsizing.) Hence his calling John Krasinski’s starring role on The Office as Jim an “unfair burden he had to smash through.” That’s a BREAK for most people. Being on a TV show for years is a f’ing privilege and a big break into show business.

I assume that Damon was asked for his take on his friend John Krasinski and his wife, Emily Blunt’s, big successes. EW has this weird essay from Damon about them without much context. Damon and Krasinski cowrote and starred in Promised Land in 2012 and Damon and Blunt were in 2011’s The Adjustment Bureau. Since then Damon has floundered somewhat while Kraskinski and Blunt have only gone up. There’s no shame in that, people have career ups and downs, I’m just saying Damon’s very bad take take on issues rightfully derailed him a bit.

For people who know them well, this is the year we’ve all been waiting for. They are both now going to have the careers that they deserve and want. I can’t imagine A Quiet Place was anything but just a lovely set to work on because those two have the same sense of humor and they see the world in the same way.

You talk to any actor, what Emily did in that movie is incredible. And what John took on — co-writer, director, and actor — selling a movie on the fact that there is going to be very little talking? That’s a really high bar, and those performances —really led by her — were just outstanding. They’re so versatile.

Playing a character on a TV show for so long, John had this unfair burden he had to smash through, and that’s been done now, clearly. Emily, I don’t think she ever repeats herself. When I worked with her almost 10 years ago in The Adjustment Bureau, everybody knew she was this really gifted actress. But with this year’s one-two punch of A Quiet Place and Mary Poppins Returns, she’s now a huge movie star in the eyes of the people who greenlight movies. I don’t think we’ve seen the limit of what either of them can do yet.

[From EW]

Maybe I wouldn’t have come away from this rolling my eyes if EW had presented it as an interview and not Damon lecturing us about how Krasinski and Blunt are successful and he could see it coming. Damon is the arbiter of people’s successes too, right? But yes, poor John Krasinski, having to convince people he’s not a good guy paper salesman from Pennsylvania. Chris Pratt must have overcome so much to go from playing a doofus shoeshining musician to a superhero. I wonder if Damon’s friends ever regret telling him their personal business. He likes to tell their oppressed perspective as he sees it. Maybe Krasinski asked for advice on how to make the transition to movies. Then Damon translated it to Damon-ease involving an unfair burden and a glass ceiling for white male TV actors on hit shows.

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In 2013:

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63 Responses to “Matt Damon: John Krasinski had an ‘unfair burden he had to smash through’ from TV”

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  1. Surely Wolfbeak says:

    I thought he was exiled to Australia. Who let him back?

  2. Nev says:

    He is STILL talking?!!!!!!!!!!!???!!!!

  3. Jay says:

    LOL. Matt Damon just stays worrying about white men. Can’t believe I ever liked him.

  4. OSTONE says:

    Matt Damon, never give an interview again in your life dawg.

  5. Darla says:

    Was Damon a berner? Because this is classic berner stuff to me. Very white and very male and their liberalism is all about that.

    • Lilly (with the double-L) says:

      Yes, so much agreement from me. I was just reading about the breakdown of democrat voting stats, just 1/3 of white men, the rest are women and POC. Liberal as long as the white guy gets to stay top of the heap, hidden under false concerns about female and POC abilities or their top-notch values and ethics I’m just too stupid, or unsophisticated, to understand. Although, I don’t know if that was Damon’s choice, it is how it comes off. I don’t hate him, though, maybe he needs to take a listening break.

  6. Amelie says:

    Honestly I can’t cancel every single white male person who doesn’t instantly get #MeToo or who talks out of turn about issues involving feminism, sexism, racism, etc. because there are SO MANY who don’t get it about a lot of things, not just male celebrities. Even people in my own family. I have people close to me who voted for Trump. I have even female family members who didn’t believe all the women who came out against Harvey Weinstein and I had to explain just how much power he welded against these terrified actresses. If I cancel everyone who has a problematic view about anything, there won’t be many people in my family to talk to. Even my own parents don’t get it sometimes.

    And I’m not about to cancel my parents. Their views may be problematic on some issues but I love them in spite of it. My grandmother in France is racist against Arabs… the list goes on! And I can’t be constantly educating them either because then I just come across holier than thou. It’s too exhausting.

    So yes Matt Damon’s views are problematic and he doesn’t get it most of the time. But he’s not a child rapist and never been accused of rape or abuse or murder that we know of… and I’ve only heard good things about him professionally. So while I may not view him the same way as I did before, it’s not going to stop me from going to see a movie of his if it looks interesting to me (but it’s been awhile since I’ve seen anything he’s been in).

    • Anon33 says:

      Not canceling your family makes sense. Matt Damon, not so much. Not really the same situation.

    • Jay says:

      Girl, no one is talking “instantly.” Matt Damon has messed up OVER AND OVER again. Over a period of years. Despite lots of folks being like HEY WHAT YOU SAID IS MESSED UP AND THIS IS WHY – not random people on the internet, but other celebs, other people in his peer group. And he STAYS messing up. At some point, it’s not about ignorance or not “instantly” getting something. It’s a pattern of dismissal and erasure that is indicative of very problematic racist/misogynist views.

      But I’m not surprised that people will do the most to excuse bad behavior by straight white men by saying we shouldn’t be mad that they weren’t born knowing something. Nah. Not here for it.

  7. Erinn says:

    Unpopular opinion – I never liked Jim and Pam. Personally, I just see him as Jim from the Office no matter what role he’s playing, which I guess kind of ties into Matt’s weird defense of him. But whatever.

    • Anners says:

      I feel this. I liked them at the beginning (season 1 maybe?) and then it just got weird and annoying. And yes, John Krasinski is Jim in every single role he plays (to me, because he is wedded eternally to that character). So I guess I too can kind of see Matt Damon’s point…although I don’t necessarily think he needs defenders.

    • Annika says:

      I agree, Erinn! Nice to know I’m not the only one!
      Dwight & Michael Scott were by far the most interesting characters on the show. And the actors that played then did the majority of the heavy lifting.

    • Bubble bee says:

      I agree. They were actually some of my least favorite people on the show. They always came off as extremely smug to me, especially Jim, but burg seemed to have this air that they were better and smarter than everyone else.

    • Pandy says:

      Yes, just like Jennifer Aniston is always some version of Rachel!

    • CheckThatPrivilege says:

      This is refreshing to see that I’m not the only person who, unlike Matt Damon, doesn’t find Blunt and/or Krasinski to be incredibly compelling actors. They’re competent, for sure, and appealing to some, and also safely unremarkable.

      I’d like to say more, but I have to go cry buckets of white tears over Krasinski’s terrible luck getting stuck on a hit TV show before he finally could break out into the clearly superior film industry he deserved to be in, barf. Give me Steve Carell any day over this bland bunch, including Matt Damon.

  8. Miles says:

    What is he talking about? Why is he always making it seem like white men have it the worse? John wasn’t any different than any TV actor trying to make it into film. Only difference is he actually had it easier because he’s a white man and Hollywood just loves giving white men opportunities.

    • LadyT says:

      I think he was simply proud of and happy for his friends. I didn’t get the impression it was an overreaching discourse on race in Hollywood so why try to make it one?
      Damon has had some problematic interviews. This is not one of them.

      • Yvette says:

        LadyT, agreed. You always put things so eloquently. 🙂

      • eto says:

        Sorry, LadyT, the world doesn’t work that way. Maybe for you it does, but not everyone.

      • CheckThatPrivilege says:

        Then he could have just said that, and it would have been lovely and sweet. But Damon had to expound on his perceived “unfair burden.” I appreciate how challenging it can be to cross the divide from success in one area of entertainment into another. But I’m not seeing anything unfair or burdensome about being forced to navigate the immense privilege and inevitable pitfalls of getting paid good money for fabulous exposure and solid experience on a hit TV show.

      • LadyT says:

        “Playing a character on a TV show for so long, John had this unfair burden he had to smash through, and that’s been done now.”
        Yep, “unfair burden” is a little strong. Maybe hurdle would have been better. I honestly think he just meant going from being widely known as simply Jim to Movie Director was an accomplishment. I also am aware that Damon has said some real doozies in the past though and that’s going to reflect on him.

    • Miles says:

      LadyT: he didn’t mention race however his implication is that John had to breakthrough to get from TV to movies, which is tough. What I’m saying is that John was no different than other TV actor trying to make it into movies and in fact has the advantage of being a white man.

      Matt Damon didn’t mention race, that is correct. But to ignore that being white and male didn’t help John get to where he is, is pure ignorance.

      • Yvette says:

        I don’t know, a conversation has been going on for years about the impossible leap some TV superstars have in their attempt to transition from TV to films. It seems to me that this is all Matt Damon is talking about. Not race, not male or female–white or person of color. Just transiting from the small screen to the big screen and how hard that transition is. A rare few have managed it, but most who make the attempt fail. To me, it seems like he is happy his friend managed to make the leap.

      • LadyT says:

        So he congratulated his friend’s success without pointing out he has the advantages of a white male. Although true, I just don’t think that was the topic.

  9. Mia4s says:

    AHAHAHAHA!! “unfair burden he had to smash through.”?

    Oh yes Damon, tell me of the struggles of the poor attractive white man! 🙄

    See this another reason why I cannot and will not give the Oscars one second of value (no I don’t care if they nominate Black Panther, it’s terrific but that movie needs awards like a polar bear needs a cell phone), it’s not enough to have made a super entertaining and alleged “best movie”. You have to have STRUGGLED! The PAIN!! The DOUBT!! It’s all so HARD!! It’s not about best movies, it’s about best campaigns. Ridiculous.

    • Agirlandherdog says:

      The thing is, he’s talking like John is the first person to do this. SOOOOOO many film actors get their start on TV. See Jennifer Aniston. See Demi Moore. Hello, Bruce Willis in Moonlighting. Leonardo DiCaprio. And John’s co-star from The Office, Steve Carell! This list goes on and on and on. I love John, but he’s not exactly breaking new ground.

      • LadyT says:

        Some succeed in making the transition from TV to movies but the vast majority do not. That’s just a fact. See the rest of the Friend’s cast for example. So John’s not the first but it is rare. Additionally, not only did he act in The Quiet Place, but he also co-wrote and directed it, earning a 95% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Quite an accomplishment for “Jim.”

      • Mia4s says:

        Many do not break through, but that’s for a million reasons. The history of those who broke through shows that if the studios want you, you’re in. Helen Hunt won an Oscar years ago while still on a sitcom. There were many reasons he took awhile for a big break but the reality is, TV wasn’t one of them. This is about setting up the STRUGGLE narrative for the awards run (it was HARD for him don’t you know?). And it’s ridiculous!!

      • LadyT says:

        I’m afraid I didn’t understand some of your comment but that “struggle and hardship” game that Leo played out in his Oscar run was so annoying. My personal pet peeve is actors using the word *brave* so freely. Listen and you’ll find it’s their favorite adjective. Umm no. It’s all relative but when I think of the truly brave things that people admirably do everyday, from firefighting to oncology treatments, acting just doesn’t rank up there at all.

      • lucy2 says:

        A while back it was hard, a lot of actors were seen as TV only and not given opportunities in film. I’d say in the last 10-15 years, that has totally changed with the rise of TV quality, and you see actors going back and forth between the two easily.

        John had a starring role in a George Clooney movie and several others WHILE on the Office, and began writing and directing before the series ended. So sorry, Matt Damon, I’m not seeing the “unfair burden” here. And maybe don’t use terms like “unfair burden” when talking about wealthy, attractive white men who have had steadily increasing success, when there are others out there who can’t get a foot in the door because of their gender or race.

  10. Tiffany says:

    Yet it was not a problem for Steve Carrell. He honored his contract and left the show. No one told John to keep signing on. If he wanted to focus on something else besides The Office, he could have left.

    • Dara says:

      Wasn’t Chris Pratt on the same show too?

    • xdanix says:

      John has never complained about The Office- every single time he’s asked about it, he credits it with giving him everything he’s got and says that if he’s never known for anything else, that’s ok with him, because he was and is honoured to be “Jim”.

  11. Marty says:

    What is he even talking about? How is TV an unfair burden? If that is the case, why are so many big name actors and actresses going back to TV?

    It took me too long to realize, Matt Damon is really not that bright.

    • Juls says:

      Bingo. Movies aren’t making as much money now because people are staying home and streaming what they want to watch. The blockbusters now are consisting more and more of series, especially on netflix, hulu, hbo, etc. Big name actors/actresses are signing on with glee, whereas 5 years ago they may have scoffed at the idea. And Matt, just so you know, your bud Krasinski just had a very successful series, on…….netflix. Doh!

    • Tiffany says:

      He is talking about the fact that John was not given chance after chance after chance after chance after chance to not make money in movies as the lead. It is just so unfair that he was not known as a movie star instead just a television actor.

  12. KNy says:

    Poor John, he has to suffer through his residual checks after being on a hugely successful sitcom starting in his – what? Mid-20s? Jesus Christ, Matt Damon. You just don’t get it. No one is owed a career in show business. Plus he has had to watch his wife succeed. THE HORROR. Matt Damon is a POS.

  13. Div says:

    People make mistakes and say dumb shit, but Matt keeps sticking his foot in his mouth over and over and over again. It’s never a one-off, it’s this constant stream.

    Also, aren’t there rumors that Kransinki is a horrendous person? A couple of film journalists (not tabloid guys) have sort of slyly insinuated it over the years, I think one of the Variety guys was the latest to tweet something like ‘what celebrated C lister made fun of a child actor’—A Quite Place was celebrated, and he’s definitely a C lister. Gossip is gossip, but he also made some weird comments when he did that Benghazi film.

    • xdanix says:

      I very, very much doubt that was him. My understanding was that the child in question had a stammer? I could be wrong about that, mind. But even so- Krasinski was the one who wanted to hire an actress who was really deaf, and pushed for them to cast Millicent Simmons, and worked very heard to honour her experiences as a deaf person. I’ve never heard that he was horrendous- mostly the opposite, that he’s a tremendously nice guy. But even if he’s not as nice as all that, I’ve certainly never gotten the vibe that he’s the kind of guy who’d be awful to or about a kid. Takes a special kind of asshole for that.

      (I also wonder was that actor in question even a man? Because the journalist who tweeted it said something about finding it amusing that people were only guessing men, or something like that. I hope we find out eventually, sounds like they deserved to be named and shamed to me.)

    • Kebbie says:

      John Krasinski isn’t a C list celebrity in any universe. Maybe he’s not like A list movie star status, but he’s not a C lister. He’s a social climber, he’s at least climbed to B+ or A- by marrying Emily Blunt and being friends with Clooney and Matt Damon.

  14. LadyLaw says:

    Hilarious. John is not conventionally attractive and I personally don’t think he’s much of an actor. Yet he has a great career.

  15. Incredulous says:

    Matt Damon continues to take after his Team America World Police iteration, I see.

  16. Meg says:

    What a twat, eh? Some of the greatest actors out there are sailing between TV and movies brilliantly. Think of Viola Davis and JK Simmons. This is some weird Hollywood caste system. But it’s obsolete, Matt boy.

    • Mia4s says:

      Yeah Damon sounds like a dinosaur with this comment. Meryl Streep is doing a TV show, so is Cate Blachet, hell a TV show is the first thing Chris Evans signed for post-Captain America. And I know some will say “but that’s streaming and prestige TV, that’s different.”. Uhhhh, being on a network sitcom sure didn’t hold back Chris Pratt?

      Spare me the STRUGGLE nonesene Damon, you sound dumb.

      • LadyT says:

        TV acting is extremely popular with movie actors these days. But successfully moving in the opposite direction, from TV to movies, is still very rare. That’s the concept at hand.

      • Juls says:

        That’s actual not true, LadyT. All actors start SOMEWHERE. None of them go from “nobody” to “film star”. Just look at the IMDB of any of your favorite film stars and all of them will have something: soap operas, TV shows, guest appearances, reality TV, etc. in their early bios. It is ludicrous to think otherwise. They ALL work their way up, even those that benefit from nepotism. You don’t just walk in to movies. I bet you would be shocked to learn just how many started their careers in *gasp* commercials. Just sayin……

      • LadyT says:

        Jules- What? Of course everyone starts somewhere. But how far do they get?Many try, few succeed making it to the top.

  17. Mel says:

    I’m going to defend Krasinski because, really, the problem IS Matt Damon. Maybe this is a conversation they had, maybe it’s just his opinion. In any case, someone need to muzzle Captain Mansplaining! You know who it’s terribly condescending to? Struggling actors who can only dream of getting a regular gig! Also, JK strikes me as a down-to-earth guy who is appreciative of all the opportunities he’s had so far.

    • Kebbie says:

      I agree. John has never made any comments like this before. Matt has made a million of them. The common denominator is Matt, and I think this comment is 100% him and his opinion.

  18. adastraperaspera says:

    I think Krasinski was so successful in his tv role because he was good at playing a goofy guy in comedy. For me, he just isn’t convincing as a leading man/action actor.

  19. girl_ninja says:

    Commence Matt Damon endused eye roll 🙄

  20. Valerie says:

    lol. really?

  21. so_annoyed says:

    Okay, taking a step back, and looking at it as if I was having a conversation with my friends about our business I can get it. He most likely was venting to his friend about how it is hard it is to get into movies vs tv. I don’t know that business but I can equate it with my own and I understand why he might have felt that way. It is hard to break out of the way people see you. I am a photographer and I vent to my good friends about doing more commercial work but companies just see me as a “family photographer” and don’t consider me at all. Even though my work is editorial I still am not considered because I have that label. So no judgements from me on that aspect. Everything else… that is another conversation.

    • Kebbie says:

      Or Matt Damon is just an a****le who made this argument completely unprompted, fueled by his own “things are so hard for rich white guys” attitude.

  22. Kerfuffle says:

    “Unfairly burdened” meaning that Krasinski would have ditched The Office if he’d had any success as a movie star. When you’re complaining about your friend’s long and lucrative employment, perhaps it’s a sign that you need to check yourself.

  23. xdanix says:

    I’m just gonna say, in John K’s defence- he has never, EVER said anything like this about himself or his career. I like the guy, so I’ve seen plenty of interviews with him, and he is asked about The Office, and transitioning to movies, in just about EVERY one of them. He always, ALWAYS makes it clear that he will forever be grateful to The Office, that he was a waiter before it and it gave him everything he’s got, and that he wouldn’t be living this life without it. He has said *numerous* times that if at the end of his career he’s never known as anything but Jim then that’s fine by him, because he’s honoured to be known for that character.

    So I wouldn’t lay the blame for that comment at his feet, because it doesn’t seem like something he would ever say, or even really think, about himself.

  24. Harryg says:

    Oh please!!!
    Can’t stand Krasinski, he’s so goddamn earnest.

  25. Kebbie says:

    Steve Carell did it quite easily and he was actually the star of the show. Talented people can be forever associated with an early role and also transcend it and make you forget it. Steve does that well.

    But I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Matt just took it upon himself to throw this angle out there without any input from John. He’s going to taint his friends with his ignorance in his attempts to help them. John and Emily seem at least a little more self-aware than Matt.

  26. Meg says:

    Damon must have a cushy life if that is unfair to him

  27. FF says:

    Does Matt Damon not realise he’s approaching a career event horizon (at speed now)?

    He should either aim for better last words, or die quietly with dignity so that maybe we can at least try to remember we liked him once.

  28. KK says:

    I’m not a fan of Matt Damon AT ALL. I mean I’m still pissed about that Project Greenlight faux pas with Effie Brown. But I think I see what he may have been trying to say & that is John was Jim Halpert for so long, (which by some ppl’s standards could be considered a pop culture icon & I would have to agree there because I love the office) that he probably was or could’ve ended up typecasted and could never break beyond that type of character. We see it all the time. One character that sticks and that actor is sorta playing it forever or cannot get gigs that transcends beyond that character. (I think of Jason Alexander). So if that was what he was tryna say…he could’ve just said it instead of trying to be so profound and enlightening. That’s what gets him in trouble he has a terrible way of talking and explaining himself ugh.