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The Bourne Supremacy - Matt Damon Q&A



Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. After you did The Bourne Identity, you were adamant that you wouldn't do the sequel?
A.
Yeah. I was really sceptical about doing the second one because it's just very hard to make a good sequel. A friend of mine said to me, 'You have to be really careful about doing sequels because there are only three sequels in history that are better than the originals. The New Testament is better than the Old Testament, Huck Finn is better than Tom Sawyer and The Godfather 2 is better than The Godfather.

Q. So what changed your mind?
A.
When Paul Greengrass came along. He's one of my favourite directors, Bloody Sunday is one of my favourite films in recent years, and once I started to talk to him about his vision for the movie, and heard his enthusiasm, I just felt like I couldn't say, 'no'.
He had such a definite idea of what he wanted to do; a bold sequel that wasn't going to shy away from the darker stuff, and I liked the idea of taking a revenge story and kind of turning it on its head a bit.

Q. It's quite a violent film?
A.
There is a lot of violence but one thing I like about it is that you see the consequences of the violence. That's a good thing to see in a movie, at a time when everybody is hell-bent on revenge. And you don't see many mainstream movies where the protagonist shoots a woman in the face.
Normally, the protagonists, in big Hollywood movies, tend to be simple characters because the studios don't want to take risks when they're spending so much money. You know, the good guy has to wear a white hat and the bad guy has to twist his moustache.
But with this, the studio allowed us to make the guy more complicated than that. He's a deeply-flawed character and so I was in a good mood going to work each day, because I had something to play, rather than kind of twiddling my thumbs playing a bland good guy role.

Q. It's a very physical role, did you do have to do a lot of training to prepare for it?
A.
I did, but I enjoy the training. It really helps, the boxing especially. I started boxing three months before shooting started.
That came from the first one where the director said, 'I want you to walk like a boxer, I think there's a directness and efficiency to the way they walk'. So I went to a gym and started taking boxing lessons.
It changed my body but it also changed my bearing, the way I carried myself. We had to do it because, in the book, Jason Bourne is ten years older than me, and I already look young for my age, so we needed to do everything we could to make me as believable as possible.

Q. You said the first film was a tough shoot in Paris, how was this one?
A.
Well, Paris a very tough place to make movies. You have to have a permit for everything, you have to tell them exactly where every truck is going to be parked. They just make it hard and they can, because it's Paris.
But shooting went much more smoothly this time. Berlin was incredibly accessible. The only drawback was that we were there in the Winter, when there's not a lot of sunshine.

Q. You spoke French in the first one, German and Russian in this one. How good are you at languages?
A.
Not very good. I can speak a bit of Spanish and that's it. The way we did it was that I stood there with a dialect coach and they made me say the lines over and over until they sounded remotely German or Russian. But French was the hardest. I have the worst French accent in the world.

Q. Will you make a third Bourne movie?
A.
I'm considering it, but I really feel like I did at the end of the first one. I'm very happy to leave it at this. It was a lot of pressure, and now that's gone, because I'm very happy with the way the movie has turned out.
To go and do the third one, we'd have to get a great script and it's hard because, personally, I don't have an idea about where to go with it. But who knows? Maybe there's a rocket scientist out there who can figure it out.

Q. How do you choose your projects?
A.
It's usually the same three things, the script, the director and the role. Really, if I get any two of those, then that's usually enough. Even if the roles are kind of similar, like when I did Rounders after Good Will Hunting, people said, ' Oh, it's Will playing cards'. I don't mind if they're good.

Q. You seem to work non-stop: you did this, Brothers Grimm, with Terry Gilliam, and now it's Ocean's Twelve?
A.
It's hard for me to turn down work because, for so many years, I was desperate to get a job and I couldn't. Like I swore I was going to take a break after Ocean's Twelve, but now I'm going to do The Informant, with Steven Soderbergh, and then a thriller called Syriana.
They're just really well-written scripts and I feel like I'd regret saying, 'no', just because I'm ready for a break. So I don't know if it's as much about being a workaholic as it is about using my common sense and feeling like these movies are really good.

Q. How has it been making Ocean's Twelve? There have been lots of photos of you and Brad Pitt and George Clooney relaxing on boats on Lake Como.
A.
It's been really good for all of us. I mean, Brad goes from a movie like Troy, and I come from a movie like this, and then we show up on Ocean's, and, suddenly, the workload is divided 12 ways, so we work less. It does feel like a vacation in that sense, but you still have to keep your eye on the ball.

Q. Do you feel more comfortable in the spotlight now?
A.
Well I've kind of avoided all that up till now, and I don't see that really changing. After Good Will Hunting, the paparazzi followed me around for about a week, and then they realised they had the story and it was over.
I think, in most cases, you kind of get back what you put out. I think of the story of Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen, in the Eighties, when they both had huge records out, and Michael Jackson couldn't leave his house, but you could see Springsteen at a corner bar. He just exuded a normalcy and he was allowed to have that because he wasn't trying to be a super-celebrity.

Q. Is that why you live in New York rather than LA?
A.
Yeah, although I don't know if you get more attention in LA than anywhere else. I mean, LA and New York tend to be the places where you get the least hassle. Generally, in New York nobody really cares or if they do, then they're too cool to say anything.

Q. Do you have to be careful when you're out and about?
A.
Occasionally. If I'm in a public place, then I won't do something stupid that, with the right people and the right amount of alcohol, I might have done. I mean, even in our thirties we do stupid shit sometimes.

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