The Strong Violent Type

Matt Damon

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Are there any actors or movies that have blown you away recently?
MATT DAMON: You know who's great is Christian Bale. Did you see Harsh Times? He did that and The Prestige in the same year! People say, ''Oh, you did The Departed and The Good Shepherd in the same year, you really got robbed.'' Christian f---ing Bale got robbed!

Have you seen Ben Affleck's new movie yet [Gone, Baby, Gone, which Affleck directed]?
Yeah, it's great! Unequivocally great.

Did he ask you to be in it?
No, no, no. It would have set him up for a fall. Now that Ben's career has gone in this new trajectory, it opens up all these doors for us. I can be in a movie he directs, we can co-write, we can co-direct. It's a huge game-changer for us.

Was it strange for you guys to be in Hawaii together this summer with your wives and kids? Was there ever a moment where you just laughed and said, Jesus, look at us?
Yeah, seeing the kids playing together, that was a trip.

What's the hardest part of being a parent for you?
We've done a lot of traveling. People are not so happy you're on the plane because they're trying to sleep and the baby's not sleeping.

It probably goes from ''Ooooh, Matt Damon's on my flight!''...to ''Oh, and he brought his screaming kid. Great.''
Exactly.

Your own parents split up when you were young.
[Fakes crying] Damn you!

Was it hard for you to decide to get married and have kids because of that?
Everyone has their own cautionary tales from whatever they witnessed. In my case, I waited until I was 35 and I was really sure — as sure as you can be — that I was in the right relationship. That's why I did it. I didn't feel any great need to get married. People say, ''Do you like being married?'' F---, no. It's a ridiculous thing to do. But I like being married to her.

What do you miss most about bachelorhood?
It's got to be the whores [laughs]. No, I mean my bachelorhood was kind of squandered making movies.

Is there a movie you didn't do that you wish you had?
Brokeback Mountain. Years ago, [Good Will Hunting director] Gus Van Sant wanted to do it with me and Joaquin Phoenix. But I was on my way to Italy to do The Talented Mr. Ripley and then All the Pretty Horses. And Gus wanted to do Brokeback right after. And I was like, ''Gus, I'm going to do a gay movie, then a cowboy movie. I can't follow it up with a gay-cowboy movie!'' [Laughs]

You once said if you made $10 million you'd quit...
I said 5, actually.

Well...
What that was a reaction to was some of the paychecks other actors my age were getting. I remember saying it: ''That person's making $5 million? If you give me that once, I'll quit, I'm outta here!'' But it would be dumb for me to quit right now. I'm going to keep working till I'm fired.

Originally posted Aug 02, 2007 Published in issue #947 Aug 10, 2007 Order article reprints