Big star, bigger heart: Matt Damon credits his friends and family with keeping him grounded. Photo: John RussoHollywood should make more original blockbusters. Nobody wants to see a message movie. And Hillary Clinton would make an “amazing” American president.Full movies coverage
In a whirlwind trip to Australia – delayed by two aborted take-offs from Los Angeles – Matt Damon was firing on all fronts ahead of the premiere of the politically charged sci-fi movie Elysium.
Director Neill Blomkamp’s follow-up to District 9, about a futuristic world where the wealthy live in a space station orbiting earth, opened on top of the American box office on the weekend in a poor season for one-off Hollywood movies as opposed to sequels. While Iron Man 3 and Despicable Me 2 have been hits, the likes of After Earth, The Lone Ranger and Pacific Rim have struggled to find an audience.
“That’s one of the reasons I’m happy that Elysium is doing well – it’s not a superhero movie, it’s not a franchise,” Damon said. “And the more movies like that that are big tentpole movies that succeed, the more encouragement that gives studios to take those swings.
“If you’re going to make these big tentpole movies, at least try to make them original.”
Asked about the hot button topic of refugees – his character joins the sci-fi equivalent of people-smugglers in Elysium – Damon said Blomkamp saw the movie as “entertaining and enjoyable on a popcorn level” while touching on topical ideas.
“I like it when a movie resonates thematically with people,” he said. “Occupy Wall Street happened after we’d already started shooting the movie. We thought, wow, this is kind of a zeitgeist idea – the haves and have-nots.
“I think that gives the movie, hopefully, its soul and makes it something that lives on and isn’t just easily forgotten because it has to entertain.
“A lot of the time when people think of message movies, they just think they have to go do homework. And nobody wants to do that, particularly when they go to the movies.”
Formerly an enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama, Damon has fallen out with the President over such issues as the legality of drone strikes and surveillance revelations – saying last week that “he broke up with me”. But he is a fan of fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The star of the Oceans movies and Behind The Candelabra disputed the claims of Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus that a planned Clinton mini-series and documentary would promote her as a candidate for the 2016 presidential election.
“I don’t think that would give her a leg up,” Damon said. “She’s going to have a leg up because of her record and because of who she is. If I thought movies like that would be helpful, I’d be making those movies because that’s the type of candidate that I believe in.”
Would he support her as a candidate?
“I think she’d be an amazing president,” he said.
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