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Film

The iconic film that Matt Damon regrets making: "It’s terrible. It’s really embarrassing"

Matt Damon, with famed titles to his name such as Saving Private Ryan, The Martian, The Talented Mr. Ripley and countless others, has established himself as one of the last few remaining Hollywood superstars.

“I never wanted to do the same kind of movies over and over anyway,” he once said, “So my theory on it all is I’m just gonna try and dodge the label and keep doing what I am doing,” Damon added. It is in that sentiment that the actor has lived his life, moving around the confides of genre to show his skills on different levels of emotion.

Having worked with directors such as Ridley Scott, Steven Soderbergh, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese and countless others, you’d be forgiven for allowing Damon time to take his foot off the pedal somewhat. However, the actor has demanded of himself that he would never take anything for granted, accepting that he understands “how hard it is to get a job in the first place”. Detailing further, he added: “As a struggling actor, you’re not looking for parts that define you, you are just looking for work”. 

Showing just how committed he is to a role after accepting, Damon added: “I love shooting when the character is interesting and the script is interesting, but the research beforehand is really fun. The whole process makes me anxious and restless, and I have trouble sleeping, just trying to figure out the character.”

It is with that level of commitment that the actor has, very rarely, allowed a slight career misstep to haunt him. While Damon has made it clear that he likes to keep moving forward at every chance, an opportunity too large presented itself and stopped him in his tracks. The Bourne franchise, created by author Robert Ludlum and adapted into a screenplay by Tony Gilroy, went on to achieve monumental success, spanning four films with Matt Damon in the lead. However, there’s one entry to the franchise that is enough to send a shiver down Damon’s spine.

“It’s really the studio’s fault for putting themselves in that position,” Damon told GQ when discussing The Bourne Ultimatum, the third film in the collection. “I don’t blame Tony for taking a boatload of money and handing in what he handed in. It’s just that it was unreadable. This is a career-ender. I mean, I could put this thing up on eBay and it would be game over for that dude. It’s terrible. It’s really embarrassing. He was having a go, basically, and he took his money and left.”

Detailing the chaos that ensued around production, Damon explained that the urgency to get a film out resulted in a lack of organisation: “We had a start date. Like, ‘It’s coming out August of next year.’ We’re like, ‘Hang on, we’ve got to figure out what the script is’.”

With professional disagreements surrounding The Bourne Ultimatum, Damon also expressed other issues that left a sour taste in his mouth: “Before the movie came out, he [Gilroy] arbitrated to get sole credit,” the actor explained. However, after an investigation, Gilroy was turned down and now shares credit with Scott Z. Burns and George Nolfi. “That was just a little bit of justice, I have to say,” Damon added.

Damon added: “If I didn’t respect Gilroy and appreciate his talent, then I really wouldn’t have cared. My feelings were hurt. That’s all. And that’s exactly why I shouldn’t have said anything.”

Despite his dissatisfaction with the movie, The Bourne Ultimatum ended up what can only be considered a commercial triumph. Taking home well over $440 million at the worldwide box office, the picture became Damon’s highest-grossing film with him as the lead. Not least for the financial smash, The Bourne Ultimatum would also earn critical attention, securing three Oscar wins at the 80th Academy Awards. Not bad for an embarrassment.

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