Matt Damon to receive Critics' Choice award, but when will he direct?

Matt-DamonImage Credit: Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic.comThe Broadcast Film Critics Association announced today that Matt Damon will receive its Joel Siegel Award on Jan. 14 at the 16th annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards. Damon appeared in three high-profile films in 2010, including the Coen brothers’ current hit Western True Grit, as well as Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter and Paul Greengrass’ Green Zone. I specifically mention the directors because since Damon burst upon the scene with 1997’s Good Will Hunting, he’s shrewdly partnered up with an impressive string of accomplished directors for what his pal Ben Affleck has called “the world’s greatest apprenticeship”: Gus Van Sant, Steven Spielberg, Anthony Minghella, Robert Redford, Steven Soderbergh, Greengrass, Terry Gilliam, Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Eastwood, and the Coens, just to name a few. 

He keeps extremely good company, and at only 40, he’s crafted a brand for himself that never seems to disappoint his fans — even if it doesn’t always deliver at the box office. In a word, it’s “smart.” Damon’s films are intelligent and have integrity, and his very name attached to a project lends it a type of credibility that many bigger “movie stars” envy. When he does an action film, it’s Bourne. When he cameos on a TV show, it’s 30 Rock. When he signs on for a science-fiction movie, it’s with Neill Blomkamp and Jodie Foster.

Next up for Damon is Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo, and at some point, he will probably take all the lessons he’s culled from watching the masters that have directed him and follow Affleck behind the camera. It would be a waste if he didn’t. (Damon has expressed the desire to direct, and there have been reports that Damon might direct Affleck and himself in The Trade, a project about two wife-swapping New York Yankees pitchers from the 1970s.)

Can you think of any other actor who’s put together a more impressive and varied string of director collaborations? (Because I’m only coming up with Jack Nicholson in the 1970s.) And when Damon does finally direct a film, which director’s fingerprints will be most evident? My guess is his films will look and feel like a combination of Soderbergh and Van Sant. Thoughts?

Comments (12 total) Add your comment
  • amanda

    Damon is a very smart actor, it’s too bad he doesn’t get the credit for his acting that he deserves. He should have been nominated for Ripley, Departed, Good Shepard, Informant, and probably Bourne.

  • Jeremy DC

    I’d rather he stick to acting. I don’t see why all successful actors are told they should direct or why they feel they need to.

    • k

      If they make good movies like Affleck and Eastwood, then why not direct films.

  • Nick

    Nice article, although the author failed to mention when he and Damon plan to make it official.

    • Jearzelle

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  • Lisa

    HA! Good one, Nick. I fail to see why if you are an actor who works with good directors, that necessarily means you will be a good director. One doesnt have anything to do with the other really. He might suck as a director and he might not. No real way to tell until he actually stops talking about it and actually does it.Maybe he’s scared.

  • janice

    This piece kisses too much Matt Damon ass. There are plenty of actors from the 70s on besides Jack Nicholson and Damon to work with an impressive collection of directors. Hell, Tom Cruise has an even more impressive collection in his body of work, he’s worked with Stanley Kubrick, Spielberg and Scorsese to name a few.

  • janice

    and another thing. Damon is a pretty bland actor. I get the feeling journalists like him so much because he’s the leading man they most relate to, he’s kind of a dork and bland looking. He’s one of them. haha

  • sarah

    Jeff Bridges did a good job of bouncing from auteur director (Bogdanovich, Benton, Huston, Cimino, etc.) in the ’70s, and George Clooney has been pretty smart about picking directors today. But, yes: Damon has been remarkably savvy in his career choices. That’s how you create a legacy, boys and girls. Bravo to Matt.

  • Ryan

    He should have won an academy award for his performance in Team America: World Police. “MAAAAAT DAAAAAAMON!”

    • Festejos

      gasp! he’s getting so big…and he’s thninnig out…fat gus, come back!!! he sure looks handsome in his grandpa sweater. can’t wait to see the kids’ room!

  • thesaurusrs

    Great article.
    Clint Eastwood said that he and Matt got along well together “because we’re the most efficient guys in the world.” I expect Matt to emulate Eastwood and Soderberg. Smart, thoughtful, and never over budget.

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