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cup Herald Sunのインタビュー 3/11

2010.03.14 Sun
Matt Damon teams up with Bourne director Paul Greengrass for Green Zone

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Dubbed "Bourne in Baghdad", Green Zone is about a soldier's search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

A visceral, intelligent ride, it journeys through the tangled web of deception in modern politics, war and the media. And who better than the "everyman" Damon to steer the ride?

Just shy of 40, Damon earned an Oscar in 1998 for the Good Will Hunting screenplay, with his buddy Ben Affleck, and was nominated for Best Actor for the same movie.

Nominated again for Best Supporting Actor this year, for his portrayal of rugby player Francois Pienaar in Invictus, it seems this Boston-born star can't put a foot wrong - on or off screen.

He's a happily married father of two daughters: Isabella, 3, and 19-month old Gia, plus stepfather to another, Alexia, from his wife Luciana's first marriage.

Damon is the only male in his Miami household, and that's the way he likes it.

"Yes, there's a severe testosterone deficit," he says, grinning.

"But it's every man's dream, isn't it? I always heard guys talk about their daughters, but because I grew up with a brother, I couldn't relate to it.

"People write books on this stuff, and I've found that guys are definitely wired differently. It's the nurturing versus the hunting-and-gathering thing."

Though he's been on an exhaustive schedule of back-to-back films since first coming to our attention in 1998, Damon has had an easier time than many of his peers (especially Affleck, in the J.Lo days) when it comes to grappling with fame.

"In terms of true decadence by Hollywood standards, you have to live like Led Zeppelin -- which didn't resemble my life at all," he says.

"I dealt with fame by working non-stop. I was a struggling actor and part of that is always worrying where your next job is going to come from. So I literally didn't take a break for 10 years. It took until Isabella was three years old when my wife said, 'Stop. Take six months off'."

As with many who juggle parenting and a career, he recalls the moment he decided working might be less challenging than being at home 24/7.

"It was really nice to be at home. It's funny. People think of it as slowing down, but it's not that way at all, because there's so much going on in our house, with three kids, cousins and friends coming over. It's pretty hectic," he says.

"So, it was no break. I remember I woke up one morning, Gia was a few months old and it was probably 4.30 in the morning. She was crying, Lucy was feeding her and I was sitting there on the edge of the bed. We hadn't slept at all, and I looked at Lucy and said, 'I can't wait to go back to work!' "

One of the reasons Damon has been able to play roles with such a vivid authenticity in films including The Talented Mr Ripley, Ocean's Eleven, The Good Shepherd, The Departed and The Informant, is his low-wattage private life.

In person, he comes across as a regular Joe. On this afternoon in Manhattan, he's dressed in worn jeans, a black hoodie and a grey beanie. He's without an entourage and despite his multi-million-dollar star status, he makes his own cup of tea.

"Living in Miami is good in terms of staying out of the public eye," he says.

Damon also attributes his lifestyle to the fact he is not married to a fellow celebrity.

Before his marriage to former waiter Lucy, he was linked to Minnie Driver, Winona Ryder, and allegedly, Penelope Cruz.

"I just got lucky that I fell in love with a woman who wasn't in the business," he says.

"I think people marry, often, within the Hollywood community because they live in Hollywood and those are the people they are exposed to. But I just bumped into my wife when I was off on location shooting a movie, so I ended up with a 'civilian'," he says, smiling.

"So, I'm the boring married guy," he says, shrugging his shoulders.

"There's no scandal and as long as I don't do anything stupid, there's no reason to put that kind of attention on me."

This attitude affords Damon a diverse and interesting career. He's comfortable in his skin, and not beholden to any image. In fact, one of his next roles is as far from Green Zone as imaginable.

"It's about the life of (Las Vegas entertainer) Liberace. Michael Douglas plays Liberace and I'm playing his lover, Scott Thorson, who wrote the tell-all book, Behind the Candelabra, after Liberace died," Damon says.

"It's taken a while to get off the ground because obviously it's not a subject matter that people want to throw money at -- but I think it will happen."

But, returning closer to the action material for which he has become a box-office sure bet, Damon recognises Green Zone is bound to be compared with the Bourne franchise.

"The Jason Bourne character is like a superhero. This guy, (Army Chief Warrant Officer) Roy Miller, is an everyman. He can get hurt, he can get scared, and he doesn't have all the answers.

"But what he has is a sense of decency, and you feel he is on a noble quest.

"He is asking very simple questions and finds himself in a world of intrigue and power, and competing agendas," Damon says. "He's looking for WMD. He asks the question we all do about the Iraq war, 'What happened?' "

On the surface, Damon appears to be leading, if not the perfect life, something that comes fairly close.

"I hope so," he says, knocking on the wooden table in front of him.

"It comes down to hard work and luck. I've worked really hard, but a lot of my friends have worked hard, too. A lot of it has to be attributed to luck.

"But it's like anything. Things will always look different from the outside.

I don't think anybody feels they're leading a charmed life, but I certainly don't have anything to grouse about. I do wake up feeling incredibly lucky every day to have the family I have, above all else.

"And kids are kids. They don't care about what other people think about you, it's all about you and them and that interaction. You can't fake your way through that.

"It means sleepless nights, and all of those things are wonderful. I guess celebrity doesn't give you a pass with the real world."

Damon will turn 40 in October, but he's not living in fear of the big number.

"I'm excited. Many people have told me it's the prime of your life," he says.

"And I'm ready for it."
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