Matt Damon: Biography
Matt was born on October 8, 1970 at Cambridge, Massachusetts. Damon grew up in prosperous surroundings with his tax preparer father, college professor mother, and older brother. At the age of ten, he made the acquaintance of one Ben Affleck, a boy two years his junior who lived down the street. The two became best friends and professional collaborators. Educated at Cambridge's Rindge and Latin School, Damon was accepted at Harvard University, where he studied for three years before dropping out to pursue his acting career. During his time there, he had to write a screenplay for an English class: it went unfinished, but it would later be dusted off and turned into Good Will Hunting.
Matt Damon: Career
Encouraged by his budding career, Damon left Harvard University and moved to California. Soon after, he appeared with the likes of Gene Hackman (Absolute Power, Enemy of the State) and Robert Duvall (Phenomenon, A Civil Action) in Geronimo: An American Legend, followed by another TNT venture, The Good Old Boys, starring Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive, Men In Black).
It was Damon's next role that would call attention to his talent. In Courage Under Fire, he played Ilario, a drug-addicted Army medic in the Gulf War, opposite Meg Ryan (City of Angels, You've Got Mail) and Denzel Washington (Philadelphia, Glory). To slip into the role, Damon slipped out of 40 pounds. But critics and audiences nationwaide praised his performance.
After seeing his Courageous performance, director Franis Ford Coppola (Bram Stoker's Dracula) cast Damon in The Rainmaker, the latest adaptation of a John Grisham novel. The film had a wonderful ensemble cast, including Jon Voight, Danny Glover (in an uncredited role), Mickey Rourke, Claire Danes, and Danny DeVito. Damon played Rudy Baylor, an idealistic youth straight out of law school, and the role earned him rave reviews. The buzz through Hollywood penned Damon as the "next big thing" - a title that helped his dream come true.
It took years, a few production snags, and many plot changes for Good Will Hunting to get to the big screen, but get there it did. Castle Rock originally held the rights to the film, but their plans for Good Will were nothing like vision Damon and Affleck had. The company wanted to see Good Will Hunting filmed in Toronto and starring Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. So the duo, with the help of friend and indie virtuoso Kevin Smith, found solace in Harvey Weinstein and Miramax Pictures. Good Will Hunting was filmed on location in Boston, with its creators in the lead roles. The film went on to rave reviews and the biggest cash draw in Miramax history. Damon and Affleck went on to snag a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for their screenplay, Damon and then girlfriend Minnie Driver were nominated for acting Oscars, Gus van Sant got a nod for Best Director, and costar Robin Williams picked up his first for Best Supporting Actor. The rest is history.
Damon followed Good Will Hunting with a pivotal role in Steven Speilberg's World War II drama Saving Private Ryan, alongside Tom Hanks, and a widely applauded lead in the gambling flick Rounders, opposite Primal Fear's Ed Norton and newcomer Gretchen Mol.
Later this year, you can see Damon and Affleck as angels in the Kevin Smith satire Dogma. Be sure to catch him as a murderer in The Talented Mr. Ripley, opposite his best bud's gal pal, Gwyenth Paltrow.
Matt Damon: Films
The Good Shepherd (2006), Syriana (2005), The Brothers Grimm (2005), Ocean's Twelve (2004), The Bourne Supremacy (2004), Jersey Girl (2004), Eurotrip (2004), Split Screen (2003), Stuck on You (2003), Gerry (2003), The Third Wheel (2002), The Bourne Identity (2002), Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002), Ocean's Eleven (2001), Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001), All the Pretty Horses (2000), Finding Forrester (2000), The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000), Titan A.E. (2000), The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999),
Dogma (1999), Rounders (1998), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Good Will Hunting (1997), The John Grisham's The Rainmaker (1997), Chasing Amy (1997), Glory Daze (1996), Courage Under Fire (1996), Geronimo: An American Legend (1993), School Ties (1992), Rising Son (1990), Mystic Pizza (1988)