Matt Damon promised his wife he’d take a break ‘unless Nolan called’ and he did

It’s hard to believe we’re on the precipice of Barbenheimer. For a year now we’ve talked about Barbie and Oppenheimer both coming out on July 21, 2023, as if it were the Mayan-calendar-prophesied movie release date to end all others. The actors are now on strike, but Matt Damon is taking one for the team and made sure to include some dishy personal gossip in an interview recorded before the strike took effect. Speaking alongside director Chris Nolan and costars Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, and Robert Downey Jr. to Entertainment Weekly, Matt shared a backstory to his involvement in the project, and I’m sure his wife is just thrilled about it:

Matt Damon likes to stay busy.

Over the last couple of years, the actor has starred in Air (which he also produced), The Last Duel (which he produced and co-wrote), and Stillwater, and also made cameo appearances in Thor: Love and Thunder and No Sudden Move. Before Christopher Nolan called Damon to offer him the role of General Leslie Groves in his historical drama-thriller Oppenheimer (out July 21), the actor–who previously appeared in Nolan’s 2014 science fiction epic Interstellar–had told his wife, Luciana, that he would take some time off. So how did Damon play the role of Groves in the movie, about “father of the atomic bomb” J. Robert Oppenheimer, without breaking his word? Turns out the actor had secured what future generations may well call “the Nolan exemption” in this spousal agreement.

“This is going to sound made up, but it’s actually true,” Damon reveals in EW’s Around the Table with Nolan and costars Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, and Robert Downey Jr. “I had–not to get too personal–negotiated extensively with my wife that I was taking time off. I had been in Interstellar, and then Chris put me on ice for a couple of movies, so I wasn’t in the rotation, but I actually negotiated in couples therapy–this is a true story–the one caveat to my taking time off was if Chris Nolan called. This is without knowing whether or not he was working on anything, because he never tells you. He just calls you out of the blue. And so, it was a moment in my household.”

[From Entertainment Weekly]

She may have agreed to a Nolan exemption, but did she agree to living with that mustache?! Ok I am eating this up and I have all sorts of reactions. Matt, honey, this ain’t your first rodeo. You could have easily said “we had agreed that I would take a break but my one caveat was if Chris Nolan called, and he did.” But instead he brings in marriage counseling, and negotiations, and the loaded comment “it was a moment in my household.” Matt and Luciana have been married since 2005, nearly 20 years, so I’m not begrudging the fact that they’re in counseling, that’s a perfectly healthy component of a long-term marriage I’m sure (I’m not, I’m guessing, I speak from no experience). But he still could have kept those parts of the story private, because now I have a cacophony of questions in my head: did Luciana have her own stipulations? Why does Matt not want to be at home–is it a tactic to avoid cleaning up his mess? He said “negotiated extensively” so how many rounds were there? Is there a Ben Affleck clause? And of course, good heavens, am I dying to know what the next round of negotiations look like after this public revelation.

Photos credit: James Warren / Bang Showbiz / Avalon, JPI Studios / Avalon, Faye’s Vision/Cover Images

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14 Responses to “Matt Damon promised his wife he’d take a break ‘unless Nolan called’ and he did”

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  1. HeyKay says:

    I know Chris Nolan is a huge, big, talented director.
    But, really?
    This story makes it sound like Matt Damon would have jumped at the sound of CN calling, shoved the wife and family to the ground, and run over them to get to CN.

    Maybe he is trying to be funny in his story but, I don’t care for the idea of sharing this as a point in their marriage counseling.
    Marriage counseling is private, Matt.

    Actors. Honestly. Shhhh!

    • Tree says:

      I’m surprised he is still married.

      I see he is back to trying to make his wife famous. I think she even called him basically a gossip. I assume she knew this story was coming.

      He brought his kids to a recent premiere but the media isnt interested in his family for some reason.

      I can’t remember if the wife wanted to be famous but I think her answer was a hard “no”.

    • bisynapticb says:

      Remember how he broke up with Minnie Driver.

  2. He just never knows when to shut up. Matt shut up!

  3. Shawna says:

    My husband and I have agreements like this. We’re both dealing with career ramp-ups, and we have a kind of arrangement around taking on new big things on versus letting home life be easier, with exceptions if a genuinely important opportunity comes up. If I were a SAHM, though, I might feel differently!

  4. Erin says:

    Although I love Cillian with all my heart I cannot take this movie seriously with Matt Damon. Every time I see the preview with him saying “This is the most important thing to ever happen in the history of the world!”, it literally looks like satire to me and I giggle. With that mustache and uniform he just looks like he’s dressing up for Halloween or something, it just seems like terrible casting to me. He has always seemed like a dope to me and with this latest TMI it seems like nothing has changed.

    • Shells_Bells says:

      Ditto. I think MD was a poor casting choice for this.

    • Tree says:

      I love Cillian Murphy but the whole movie looks poorly casted. Florence Pugh and Emily blunt will grate on me. I’m certain of it. I liked “hello darling” yet I see this movie potential being a show piece for imax and not a real story. Really debating paying $20 to see this.

      Matt Damon was most likely casted as the “american”. You can still pinpoint his ethnicities but he has an “American look” at first glance.

  5. Kate says:

    Ha ha ha. Hilarious, relatable. Actors they really are just like us – fighting with spouses, doing the therapy, finding the loopholes in our spouses’ requests for our time and attention.

  6. HeyKay says:

    Take a page from the real world here millionaires.
    99.5% of us would be thrilled to get ANY kind of work/ home life balance.

    This makes Matt look like a real jerk to me.

  7. HeyKay says:

    I can understand CN casting Cillian Murphy.
    Why he cast Matt Damon I do not understand.
    Matt does not have the gravity needed for this part.
    The part needed an actor with heavy style, the general in charge of the building of the Bomb.
    Years ago, it would have gone to Hackman, or Nicholson.

    He could have gone with Christian Bale or Russell Crowe both older.

  8. Becks1 says:

    I dont’ think him sharing this is that big a deal. It sounds like he was working a ton and was away a lot, and his wife was probably like “you need to be home for an extended period of time, not just a week here and there like you’ve done for the past year” and he agreed, with a caveat. I also like that he mentioned couples therapy. They’ve been together a long time for hollywood and I’m sure that takes some effort and work and I think couples therapy should be normalized.

    My guess is his wife also knew that in general, counseling aside, he was dying to work with Nolan again.

    My husband and I have similar discussions about our work schedules and priorities. Not at the same level of course, lol.

  9. ama1977 says:

    Matt, why are you so dumb? I would not be happy if my husband said ALL OF THAT to the press. It makes Luciana sound controlling and witchy IMO, which I don’t think is the case. I think he thinks this is “cute” or “relatable” and it’s not. Shades of when his pal Benny told the whole universe that being married to Jenn Garner was a chore at the Oscars.

    My personal philosophy is that spouses (in healthy marriages) should be each others’ biggest cheerleaders and the wagons should stay circled unless you are having a private discussion with a close confidant. I don’t go in for the joke/story at my spouse’s expense. We are a team and I have your back, 1000%.

  10. Nx2 says:

    For me, zero surprise about the counseling – he was already a big Hollywood star and she was a regular person when they started dating. She’s lived their married life following him around on sets, with their kids in tow. People are so obsessed with fame, money and power that nearly anywhere a big Hollywood star goes, people lose their minds and sometimes (even at civilized events) push a spouse or partner out of the way to get to the star. The power balance is so unequal in a relationship like that.