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Matt Damon recognizes the vicious heat/buzz/smear-machine warming up this time of year. The New York Times spoke with him (and describes him as “among the most charming and down-to-earth of all the Hollywood deities”) and reports:
“My first experience with that was ‘Good Will Hunting,’” Mr. Damon said. “The week of the voting there was a story that came out in Variety that Ted Tally had written ‘Good Will Hunting.”
Mr. Tally, a screenwriter who won an Oscar for “Silence of the Lambs,” and Mr. Damon eventually worked together on “All the Pretty Horses,” but at this point they hadn’t met.
“And Ted Tally, to his credit, he called up Variety and said, ‘I want to go on the record and just say I didn’t write that movie, I wish I did but if I had written it I’d take credit for it,’” Mr. Damon said. “It kind of put the thing to bed but I remember getting called for a quote and I said I’m not gonna” – charming colloquialism – “comment. Are they calling Woody Allen and asking him if he wrote the script? They want to come look at my hard drive? I’ve been working on this script for, like, years. And then it was explained to me, that no, it’s not actually about that. It’s about just putting enough doubt in voters’ mind that they would go, ‘oh, I heard something about that movie, I’m not sure if those guys actually wrote it. What’s that – Oh, I liked ‘As Good As It Gets.’”
So, Mr. Damon’s people explained to him, “it’s the ‘As Good As It Gets’ camp,” he said. “And I was like, come on, you must be kidding me. You’re telling me it’s Jim Brooks,” the director of that movie? “’No, Jim Brooks would never do that. It’s the camp!’ Like, what does that mean? It was so stupid. I was just flabbergasted.”