In the movie The Stillwater Girl Matt Damon is an American worker who reaches Europe, where his daughter is accused of a murder that recalls the one that involved Amanda Knox in Perugia. “In the moments that matter,” says the actor, “every parent is willing to give the best of themselves and fight for those they love”
It has passed the mark of the 50 years, but the spirit remains that of the boy from Boston who shared the sofa in a studio apartment with an unknown colleague like him, Ben Affleck, dreaming of Hollywood.
And that dream has more than come true: after an Oscar and a resume that boasts the collaboration with filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, the actor Matt Damon today he is a star who does not even need to define himself as such. Indeed, it seems to do the opposite.
He keeps a low profile, spends time with his four daughters and he is married for 16 years with the same woman, Argentina Luciana Barroso. Yet, on the eve of the Venice Film Festival, he was among the most anticipated for The Last Duel, written by him with thefriend Ben Affleck and directed by Ridley Scott.
The “star next door”, as they call it, he does not hesitate to show himself vulnerable and moved by the return to a semblance of normality after months of Covid: “Once in the room, after the pandemic, I was as excited as it was the first time,” he says. “And in a certain sense it was: finding myself again in front of the big screen with a thousand people, after a year and a half lived in a non-human way, without contact with others, was strong”.
The deepest emotion was al Cannes Film Festival, where he presented The Stillwater Girl (in theaters): the story is set in France and Matt is a conservative father who goes to the rescue of his daughter, accused of killing a girl he was very attached to. The film is loosely based on the story of Amanda Knox, the American involved in the investigation into the murder of Meredith Kercher in 1997 in Perugia. Knox has harshly criticized the film, while Damon and the director, Tom McCarthy, have denied the accusations, arguing that the story goes in other directions.
In the cinema he plays Bill Baker, an American oil industry worker who feels like a foreigner in Europe. Do you ever get the same feeling?
“To tell the truth, I feel a little European by adoption. I have been working on this continent since the 1990s and I have always enjoyed myself ».
What was it like playing a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump?
“A challenge, because not only did I not vote for Trump at the time, but I still don’t like the nationalistic tendencies that are spreading throughout the world. Already in the years of President George W. Bush we discussed a lot, among friends and colleagues, about American foreign policy and certain decisions taken. To play Bill Baker, I had to forget all of this. It is also true that I chose to do this job precisely to be able to live very distant lives from mine: Bill and I do not get along politically, but this film made me reflect on how a certain angry politics divides us and creates cracks, because basically we are more similar than we think ».
Is what unites us stronger than what divides us?
«I am convinced of it, Bill is the example. A complex man, a father who struggles to redeem his daughter, unjustly arrested, and fights on the front line for her. As a father it was easy for me to identify with this aspect and I think that parents from all over the world who will watch the film will think the same, even if they have different political ideas ».
Continue reading the interview with Matt Damon on issue 39 of Grazia now on newsstands.
Photo by Marc Royoce