Thursday, July 21, 2011

Matt Damon

Matthew Paige "Matt" Damon,  born October 8, 1970 is an American actor, screenwriter, and philanthropist whose career was launched following the success of the film Good Will Hunting (1997), from a screenplay he co-wrote with friend Ben Affleck. The pair won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay for their work and Damon garnered multiple Best Actor nominations, including the Academy Award, for his lead performance in the film.
Damon has since starred in commercially successful films such as Saving Private Ryan (1998), the Ocean's trilogy, and the Bourne series, while also gaining critical acclaim for his performances in dramas such as Syriana (2005), The Good Shepherd (2006), and The Departed (2006). He garnered a Golden Globe nomination for portraying the title character in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) and was nominated for an Academy Award as a supporting actor in Invictus (2009). He is one of the top forty highest grossing actors of all time. In 2007, Damon received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was named Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine.
Damon has been actively involved in charitable work, including the ONE Campaign, H2O Africa Foundation, and

Early life
Matt Damon was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of Kent Telfer Damon, a stockbroker, and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, an early childhood education professor at Lesley University. Damon is of English, Scottish, Finnish, and Swedish ancestry, and is a distant cousin of actors Ben Affleck and Casey Affleck. He has a brother, Kyle, who is an accomplished sculptor and artist. He and his family moved to Newton and lived there for two years. After his parents divorced, Damon and his brother moved with their mother back to Cambridge, where they lived in a six-family communal house. Damon grew up near Ben Affleck, a close friend since childhood and collaborator on several films, and historian and author Howard Zinn, whose biographical film You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train and audio version of A People's History of the United States Damon later narrated.
Damon took to role-playing as a child partly because his mother raised him "by the book, which made him feel as though "you couldn’t define yourself, because you already had been defined by her. He attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, where he was a disciplined student but had a "terrifying" first two years due to his short height at the time. As a lonely adolescent, Damon has described feeling "such pain in wanting to belong somewhere and not belonging. Damon performed as an actor in several high school theater productions; he has credited his drama teacher at Rindge and Latin, Gerry Speca, as an important artistic influence, even though Damon recalls that, "Mr. Speca always seemed to trust Ben Affleck with the biggest roles and longest speeches.

Personal life
Damon dated his Good Will Hunting co-star Minnie Driver. He later had a two-year relationship with actress Winona Ryder. From 2001 to 2003, he dated Odessa Whitmire, a former personal assistant of Billy Bob Thornton and Ben Affleck.
While filming Stuck on You in 2003, Damon met Argentine-born Luciana Bozán Barroso (born 1976) in Miami, where she was working as a bartender. They married in a private civil ceremony on December 9, 2005, at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau near New York City Hall. Damon became stepfather to Barroso's young daughter, Alexia, from her previous marriage. The couple's first child together, daughter Isabella, was born on June 11, 2006. On August 20, 2008, Barroso gave birth to the couple's second child, Gia Zavala Damon, both girls born in Miami, Florida. On October 20, 2010, Barroso gave birth to their third daughter, Stella Zavala Damon, in New York. As of 2010, Damon and his family reside in Manhattan.
Damon is a fan of the Boston Red Sox. After the team won the 2007 World Series, he narrated the commemorative DVD release of the event.

Acting career
Damon's first film role came in 1988 when he was eighteen, with a single line of dialogue in the romantic comedy Mystic Pizza. As a student at Harvard University, he continued to pursue acting and performed small roles in projects such as the TNT original film Rising Son and the ensemble prep-school drama School Ties. In 1992, he landed a big part in Geronimo: An American Legend with Gene Hackman and Jason Patric. Four years later, he auditioned for a small role in Cutthroat Island, but was turned away. Damon next appeared as an opiate-addicted soldier in 1996's Courage Under Fire. He was required to lose 40 pounds (18 kg) in 100 days (for only two days of filming). After following a self-prescribed diet and fitness regimen to lose the weight, Damon was told after filming that he was fortunate his heart did not shrink. He took medication for several years afterwards to correct the stress inflicted on his adrenal gland. Courage Under Fire gained him some critical notice, as The Washington Post labeled his performance "impressive"; Damon has stated that it was worthwhile to risk his health in order to properly portray his character and show the industry how committed he was to his work as an actor.
During the early 1990s, Damon and Affleck wrote a screenplay about a young math genius, which they then pitched around Hollywood for a long time. Receiving advice from director Rob Reiner, screenwriter William Goldman, and their friend writer/director Kevin Smith, the two made changes to the script. The script eventually became Good Will Hunting (1997), and received nine Academy Awards nominations, earning Damon and Affleck Oscars for Best Original Screenplay. Damon was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for the same film, which also netted an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for co-star Robin Williams. He and Affleck were each paid salaries of $600,000, while the film grossed over $225 million at the worldwide box office. The two later parodied their roles from the film in Kevin Smith's 2001 movie Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

Hollywood star
Damon has become known for choosing a wide variety of film roles, from his portrayal of Patricia Highsmith's anti-hero Tom Ripley in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) to a fallen angel who discusses pop culture as intellectual subject matter with Affleck in Dogma (1999); from a conjoined twin in Stuck on You (2003), which got a mixed critical reception, to the low budget experimental film Gerry (2002), which he co-wrote with Casey Affleck and Gus Van Sant. Damon garnered generally positive critical reaction for his Golden Globe-nominated portrayal of Ripley, with Variety stating, "Damon outstandingly conveys his character's slide from innocent enthusiasm into cold calculation.
Damon's attempts at essaying leading characters in romantic dramas such as 2000's All the Pretty Horses and The Legend of Bagger Vance were commercially and critically unsuccessful. Variety said of his work in All the Pretty Horses: "[Damon] just doesn't quite seem like a young man who's spent his life amidst the dust and dung of a Texas cattle ranch. Nor does he strike any sparks with [Penelope] Cruz. He was similarly deemed "uncomfortable being the center" of Robert Redford's The Legend of Bagger Vance.
From 2001 to 2007, Damon gained wider international recognition as part of two major film franchises. He co-starred as thief Linus Caldwell, alongside George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Julia Roberts, in Steven Soderbergh's 2001 remake of the Rat Pack's 1960 caper film Ocean's 11; the successful crime dramedy spawned two sequels, Ocean's Twelve (2004) and Ocean's Thirteen (2007). He played amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne in the hit action thrillers The Bourne Identity (2002), The Bourne Supremacy (2004), and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). Entertainment Weekly placed Damon as an "action star" on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "When he first signed on as the ass-kicking amnesiac Jason Bourne in 2002, no one would've predicted that Damon would become the decade's best mixer of brawn and brains. Shows what we know. 
Damon played a fictionalized version of Wilhelm Grimm in Terry Gilliam's fantasy adventure The Brothers Grimm (2005), which was a critically panned commercial failure; The Washington Post concluded, "Damon, constantly flashing his newscaster's teeth and flaunting a fake, 'Masterpiece Theatre' dialect, comes across like someone who got lost on the way to an audition for a high school production of 'The Pirates of Penzance'. Later that year, he appeared as an energy analyst in Syriana. In 2006, Damon joined Robert De Niro in The Good Shepherd as a career CIA officer, and played an undercover mobster working for the Massachusetts State Police in Martin Scorsese's The Departed, a remake of the Hong Kong police thriller Infernal Affairs. Assessing his work in the two films, Manohla Dargis of The New York Times wrote that Damon "does what few stars with his kind of billing do: he disappears. The Departed was a success amongst critics and audiences alike.
Damon had an uncredited cameo in Francis Ford Coppola's Youth Without Youth (2007) and another cameo in the 2008 Che Guevara biopic Che. He lent his voice to the English version of the animated film Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, which was released in the United States in August 2009. He also made a guest appearance in 2009 on the sixth season finale of Entourage as himself, where he tries to pressure Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) into donating to his charity OneXOne—a real foundation for which Damon is an ambassador—and gets increasingly irritated when Chase does not seem to comply.
Damon next appeared in Steven Soderbergh's dark comedy, The Informant! (2009), in which his Golden Globe-nominated work was described by Entertainment Weekly as such: "The star – who has quietly and steadily turned into a great Everyman actor – is in nimble control as he reveals his character's deep crazies.
In 2010, Damon re-teamed with director Paul Greengrass, who directed him in the Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum, for the action thriller Green Zone, which flopped commercially and received ambivalent reception from critics.
In motion pictures that feature him either as a leading actor or as a supporting co-star, his films have grossed a total of U.S.$1.94[49] to U.S.$2.42 billion[50] (based on counting his roles as strictly lead or including supporting roles, respectively) at the North American box office, placing him in the top forty grossing actors of all time.

Upcoming films
He will next work with frequent collaborator Steven Soderbergh on two projects: as the longtime Liberace love interest, Scott Thorsen, opposite Michael Douglas in an upcoming film centered on the pianist's life and as part of an ensemble cast in Contagion. Damon has also performed a supporting role in Kenneth Lonergan's drama Margaret, which was scheduled for a theatrical debut in 2007 but is yet to be released due to production conflicts. He will also star in We Bought a Zoo, and has been cast to play in Elysium.

Producing career
Along with Affleck and producers Chris Moore and Sean Bailey, Damon founded the production company LivePlanet, through which the four created the documentary series Project Greenlight to find and fund worthwhile film projects from novice filmmakers. The company produced and founded the short-lived mystery-hybrid series Push, Nevada, among other projects. Project Greenlight was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Reality Program in 2002, 2004, and 2005.
In March 2010, Damon and Affleck teamed up again to sign a first-look production deal with Warner Bros.

Humanitarian work
Damon has taken part in philanthropy since the age of 12, deciding what to do with his $5 allowance. Damon was the founder of H2O Africa Foundation, the charitable arm of the Running the Sahara expedition, which merged with WaterPartners to create in July 2009. He, along with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, and Jerry Weintraub, is one of the founders of Not On Our Watch, an organization that focuses global attention and resources to stop and prevent mass atrocities such as in Darfur. Damon supports the ONE Campaign, which is aimed at fighting AIDS and poverty in Third World countries. He has appeared in their print and television advertising. Damon is also an ambassador for OneXOne, a non-profit foundation committed to supporting, preserving and improving the lives of children at home in Canada, the United States, and around the world. Damon is also a spokesperson for Feeding America, the largest USA-focused hunger-relief organization, and a member of their Entertainment Council, participating in their Ad Council PSAs.
Damon is a board member of Tonic Mailstopper (formerly GreenDimes), a company that attempts to halt junk mail delivered to American homes each day. Appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show on April 20, 2007, Damon promoted the organization's efforts to prevent the trees used for junk mail letters and envelopes from being chopped down. Damon stated: "For an estimated dime a day they can stop 70 per cent of the junk mail that comes to your house. It's very simple, easy to do, great gift to give, I've actually signed up my entire family. It was a gift given to me this past holiday season and I was so impressed that I'm now on the board of the company.
In the media

Kimmel and Damon
Comedian Jimmy Kimmel at some point started stating near the end of his ABC television show Jimmy Kimmel Live!, "My apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time." The line is a gag lampooning instances where shows cannot feature their last guest due to time constraints. On September 12, 2006, after a segment highlighting the running gag and a lengthy introduction by Kimmel, Damon finally appeared on the show, only for Kimmel to apologetically cut his interview and head to credits, as Damon cursed him. This encounter was entirely planned by Kimmel and Damon.
Kimmel's girlfriend at the time, comedian Sarah Silverman appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live on January 31, 2008 and aired a clip where she is singing a song entitled "I'm Fucking Matt Damon". Damon appeared in the song with Silverman. Kimmel responded by airing his own music video in which he announced, through song, that he is "fucking Ben Affleck". The video aired on February 24, 2008, and featured Affleck along with a host of celebrities, including Don Cheadle, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Harrison Ford, and Robin Williams.

Political views
Damon appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews in December 2006 and, while discussing the ongoing war in Iraq, he stated: "I don't think that it's fair, as I said before, that it seems like we have a fighting class in our country that's comprised of people who have to go for either financial reasons, or ... if you're gonna send people to war, then that needs to be shared by everybody.
On September 10, 2008, a video was released on YouTube by the Associated Press in which Damon criticized the Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, whom he found unready to lead the country in case John McCain were to not make it through his first term. Damon referred to Palin as a "...bad Disney movie... 'I'm just a hockey mom from Alaska here to take on the White House'," and added, "It's absurd ... I need to know if she really thinks dinosaurs were here 4,000 years ago. Because she’s gonna have the nuclear codes.

Awards and honors
Damon won multiple awards for Good Will Hunting, a film he co-wrote with Ben Affleck. He was nominated for the Academy Award as "Best Actor in a Leading Role" and won for "Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.
On July 25, 2007, Damon became the 2,343rd person to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.He reacted to the award by stating: "A few times in my life I've had these experiences that are just kind of too big to process and this looks like it's going to be one of those times.
Damon has been nominated for four Screen Actors Guild awards and seven MTV Movie Awards for various films. Additionally, he has three Emmy nominations for his work as producer on three seasons of Project Greenlight.
Damon was named People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive for 2007.
Damon won 'Best Ass-Kicker' and 'Guy of the Year' at the Spike Guys' Choice Awards of 2008.
On March 27, 2010, Damon received the 24th Annual American Cinematheque Award, which was presented to him by Ben Affleck at a ceremony comprising roasts from Damon's colleagues and friends in the entertainment industry.

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