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INT: Damon & Kinnear

Dec. 15, 2003by: Mike Sampson

Contrary to what you might be reading elsewhere on the web, Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear were not interviewed separately for STUCK ON YOU at the roundtables in New York. They were, quite wisely, paired up and did the interviews together. I was initially disappointed but as we were talking it's easy to see why they were together. For one, it would cut down on the repetitive nature of some of the questions and two, they obviously had a great repor together, constantly joking at the other's expense and even joking with us writers. Both were really funny guys who looked excited to be making a really funny movie. Here's what they had to say:

Were you guys surprised the Farrelly brothers asked to star in this movie?

MD: No, I was excited when they did it. You know, it was obviously really different from anything Id ever had a chance to do, so no, no, I was excited. Once I read it and talked to them about it I got real excited.

Have you noticed you have the same haircuts as the characters in DUMB AND DUMBER?

MD: I didnt even realize that. My hair was maybe a bit longer than it is now, and the first day I showed up, and the lady who was doing my hair, I went and sat in the chair and said, all right, what do you think? And she just went, grabbed it, and put the bangs down and said, I think thats good. I went, yeah, thats probably fine, and I went to the set and didnt realize till much later that we kind of looked like the guys from DUMB AND DUMBER.

How did you decide who would play which character?

GK: I wanted to play Cher but they decided to go with her. Cher. No, they kind of came at us with the notion of me being Walt and Matt being Bob.

MD: Yeah, there was never really any discussion about that. I think that part of it was that the brother who is slightly older --

GK: Here we go to the age thing, huh? Just like that. Cant help yourself, can you?

MD: (laughs) The brother who is older felt his clock ticking and really wanted to get out there, and that was one of the story points that drove us out to LA.

Did you guys get mad or irritated after being together for so long?

MD: The only times that we got testy was the days when we did the full prosthetic, when were in swim trunks, thats a rubber suit that were basically wearing around our whole chest, and theres the whole middle piece and all the way around our back It would take them about 12 hours for them to put it on, and wed have to stand still for those 12 hours while they did it. And Id never stood stock still for 12 hours, and it really is12 hours. Honest to God. Because wed get up at three in the morning to go do this, so we wouldnt be able to shoot until three in the afternoon and then wed shoot for four or five hours, and then it would take an hour or two to get it off, so, those were really long days.

GK: We watched a Tom Green movie one morning. Nothing to do during this time. And played video golf.

When you were sitting there for 12 hours, was that the point when you wondered what you were doing?

GK: We kind of knew how good it would look and how important it was for the movie, you know, and so we were excited about it, like, boy I hope they get this right. But yeah, we did it six times and by the fifth and six times we had to sit for that process, we were going, man, Im not looking forward to tomorrow morning. And the point is, those arent our hairy backs.

Fake belly button too, right?

GK: Crazy huge belly button, right? Like weirdly large.

There are some serious themes in it, like being the outsider. Have you ever felt that way?

MD: Well sure, I think thats a pretty common human experience. I dont think I know anyone who hasnt felt that way before. But certainly this is taking it to an extreme, but also the movie then becomes about, all right, this is the hand youre dealt, now what do you do? Its about overcoming adversity. The one moment I balked at was at the beginning, when I first heard about this, was it going to cross a line into cruelty? But then meeting those guys and listening and talk about these characters, and the way they wanted to do it, it was pretty clear that the spirit and the tone of the movie would end up being what it is, which is a really, I guess they would say a feel good movie, but with a really positive message for younger people. Whatever hand youre dealt, you can overcome all kinds of obstacles and thrive.

Were you guys fans of their films before?

MD: Yeah.

So you knew what you were getting into.

MD: Yeah. If you didnt like the movie, we have no excuse.

Do you do research for something like this?

GK: On any serious, important film thats being considered for an Oscar nomination, I do research. You know, I was actually working on another movie right before this, when this happened, and only had a few before, I went from that to this. Usually I do give a great deal of forethought and zone in on characters and all sorts of things like that. Never before have I just stuffed something away in the back cupboard of my brain more than this, because it was just such a crazy concept, and I just kind of felt like, at least for me, this is going to have to be discovered through the process, not before. And Im kind of glad it worked out that way, because much of what ended up in the movie in terms of tonally, what the relationship is between Don and Walt, what our characters are, and the story, and a lot of the good jokes that are in it, happened while we were making it.

Did you speak to the real-life conjoined twins, the McCarther twins?

MD: I didnt meet them, we didnt meet them, but they spoke to Peter and Bobby a lot. And, granted, for this type of movie, this wasnt TWIN FALLS, IDAHO, you know, it was a different take. As Greg said, he was working up to the moment almost when we started shooting. I hadnt worked for a year and a half and I didnt do any research.

Is that just the way that you work?

MD: No, I usually do quite a bit of research.

GK: Do you even read the scripts before you sign on?

MD: No, I dont go that far [laughter]. But as Greg said, this really was the kind of thing that we were going to figure out. A lot had to be, it was once we were in the harness, it was once we started moving around together, and you dont want to start locking into things, especially in a performance like this when youre responsible for half of it, but you know somebody is going to be attached to you with the other half. So you want to kind of leave yourself open to, you get to know the person that youre playing with.

Were there any jokes you wouldnt do?

GK: See the movie. You can see theres pretty much nothing we refused.

Why no toilet scene in this movie?

GK: We did a lot of toilet scenes but they ain't in the movie. You put this harness on and youre kind of, youve got your dance partner for the next 12 hours. So we just had to work through a lot of personal issues. I like the tone of the movie; its different than a lot of their other films. In some ways its similar, but I just really responded to what the story was about and thought it would be kind of an interesting exercise. I knew when it was over, and when it was donewe cant say this about a lot of moviesthere was no risk of people sitting there in the theater and saying, Oh, not one of these films again.

You were so funny on Will and Grace. Will you do more of that?

MD: [British accent] Keep talking, dont stop, and give me more love, more (laughs). Yeah, my goal would be to come in each year or so when I see you guys, to have you say, You know, I didnt think that you would do a movie like that. I hope the movies I do are different enough that thats the reaction I get. I dont want to do the same thing. Greg and I talked about this. If he did AUTO FOCUS for the rest of his life hed go crazy. But if he did just this movie for the rest of his life

GK: That was the best guest episode of a sitcom, maybe, one of the best ever. I didnt give you a handclap for that. Brilliant!

Can you talk about your Talk Soup show days?

GK: It was an incredibly fresh environment. There was no show like it when we started, and I really; it was a great experience for me. I felt like we really could do anything, and everything was possible, and yet nobody was watching the show for the first two years it was on so it was kind of in a vacuum, and even when they were watching it, it was just on E!, it was so small. It was really a cool environment; I had a great group of people that I worked with. A lot of the comedy in that show was provided by Geraldo Rivera and Jerry Springer, so I didnt have to do much.

Did you go from the BOURNE IDENTITY to this one?

MD: Lets see. No, I hadnt worked in a while. I did a play in London and then I came to this.

Do you have anything coming up next?

MD: Sure, Im happy to report to you all that Ive just done a movie that Terry Gilliam directed [THE BROTHERS GRIMM with Heath Ledger]. Its finished. Yeah, its finished, yes. It was great, it was really great, and he was everything that I could have ever hoped he would be. You know, watching LOST IN LA MANCHA you see how passionate he is and what an incredible director he is, and it was just really nice to work with him. I have huge, huge hopes for that movie; I think it could really be special. Its very funny; its got a lot of fairy tale imagery in it and stuff that the Brothers Grimm ended up writing about. Hard to classify, really. Ill probably see a cut of it in about six months or something, but itll be interesting to see.

A lot of CGI in that?

MD: Yeah, there will be.

Speaking of CGI, was there any in this?

MD: None. Actually, we got lucky on the hackeysack, it took us only four takes to get that routine [laughing].

The stuff with flipping the burgers?

GK: No, no, thats all real. [laughing]. [to Damon] Sorry I couldnt keep it up. No, that was all CGI. But what were doing to duplicate, to make the CGI look like it actually works, was by us.

So none of that stuff was real?

GK: There is a great deal in that kitchen stuff thats us, and mixed in with that, very nicely, by the way, are a few CGI tricks that really make it work. But, you know, we needed the help with that, but we do a lot of it ourselves.

Did you even try to do some of it?

MD: We had a couple short order cooks come in, just to get the weight of the burgers and all that stuff, so that we could sell those kinds of flips over the shoulder and all that stuff.

Is there anything stuck to you that was an asset or a curse?

MD: My arrogance, probably, I would say (laughs).

GK: Ben Affleck?

MD: You said that, I didnt say that. Everybody picks up their pen and goes, yeah!

What was your biggest help?

MD: Probably just discipline, just the drive and the discipline to do it. But also theres something Greg does in this movie, he plays the actor, which I really think is great, he really plays Walt as impervious to any attack. Walt just refuses to acknowledge when things arent going his way, hes the eternal optimist. I think that actors have to have that quality, among many others, but chiefly among them that one, because you deal with so much rejection. You get told youll never make it. You go on a thousand auditions and you dont even get close. You have to just be impervious to that and kind of laugh off that kind of rejection.

What are you working on now?

GK: I did a movie with Robert De Niro. Bob De Niro, maybe youve heard of him. Its called GODSEND, itll come out in March. In terms of what Im doing next, I dont know, I just had a baby. No, not personally. I didnt personally have a baby. Indirectly I had a baby. So Im just being a dad.

MD: Im taking a break for the next twenty minutes, and then Im getting on a plane to go to Germany to do THE BOURNE SUPREMACY.

Is that going to be better than the first one?

MD: I dont know. Weve got Paul Greengrass directing, and hes fantastic, he directed BLOODY SUNDAY, hes just a terrific director. So you know, I dont know. The script is there, and Paul really is confident about it. So I dont know, hopefully itll be good. We start shooting, its ten to four now that means its midnight there. We start shooting officially in 20 minutes is our first day of shooting.

Are you working out for it?

MD: Yeah, I am. Back in shape for it, yeah. Its the same kind of physical stuff.

GK: So when are you going to get back in shape (laughs)?

MD: Sometimes between now and the flight over there, I guess. Do a couple jumping backs.

How was working with Cher?

MD: Cher had so much class, though, to come in and do it, and she said early on, she said, Look, I cant do this halfway. I gotta really go for it. And she absolutely, I dont know anybody at that level, which is a level that few people ever attain, that would be willing to send themselves up, with so much enthusiasm. She was really cool.

GK: Cher's great, shes incredible, we both came to know her and love her. She is an enormous, enormous star, who goes anywhere and crowds fall her and people follow her, and yet shes a disciplined actress and shes down to Earth and cool. I cant say enough good things about her.

Can you talk about having worked with Jack Nicholson on AS GOOD AS IT GETS?

GK: Well, at the risk of promoting his movie [SOMETHINGS GOTTA GIVE], if its opening the same day as oursJack, hes a remarkable guy. I was humbled to work with him. Theres nothing I can say, to add to the Jack Nicholson equation of mythology. He really is a brilliant actor, he faced some stiff Oscar competition the year that he won for AS GOOD AS IT GETS, but there can only be one winner

MD: So did Robin Williams.

GK: (Laughs) Weve been dueling it out. We both had a hand in each others worlds that year, actually. No, I got nothing but great things to say about Jack. Hes amazing. Hes really coming into his own.

Do you hope to do more singing?

GK: I dont know. It depends on the project, I honestly hadnt done a lot of singing, and Pete [Farrelly] had this crazy notion that song belonged at the end of the movie somehow, and gave me the CD and said, You should learn this song or else itll be stupid. So I just kind of played around with it. Its a Billy Stewart song. I listened to it, and then went and recorded a version of it, and we got an up-and-coming actress, Meryl Streep, to come in and work with me. She learned a lot. I dont know, shes amazing. It was great, it was absolutely great. I got to do a scene with Meryl Streep and musical theater and Bonnie and Clyde, man. Im done. I could be done.

Hows Project Greenlight?

MD: Were having trouble now because HBO dropped us. Were in negotiations to try to get it over to Bravo or A&E or somewhere else.

Is that coming to DVD?

MD: I would assume so. I wouldnt put it past Miramax television to get that out there on DVD.

Source: JoBlo.com

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