The cast of the upcoming action flick The Great Wall is shaping up rather nicely, and although it sounds like a historical drama, the film is anything but. Matt Damon has joined the cast alongside Willem Dafoe, Pedro Pascal and a roster of notable Chinese stars in the film from acclaimed director Zhang Yimou and Legendary Pictures, the folks who brought you Godzilla.
According to Variety, Damon is the latest to join the cast of the upcoming film, which also stars Willem Dafoe and Game of Thrones favorite Pedro Pascal. The Great Wall is being helmed by Zhang Yimou, known for his previous films The House of Flying Daggers and The Flowers of War. The trio of English-speaking stars are joined by Chinese actors Andy Lau, Jing Tian, Zhang Hanyu, Eddie Peng, Lu Han, Lin Gengxin, Zheng Kai, Chen Xuedong, Huang Xuan and Wang Junkai.
Henry Cavill and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter star Benjamin Walker were previously in talks to join the film back when The Last Samurai director Ed Zwick was attached.
The film is set in 15th century China and centers on a group of soldiers who stumble upon the famous Great Wall during its construction. It’s not long before the soldiers learn that the wall isn’t just being built to protect the Chinese from invading Mongol warriors, but to protect them from a far more dangerous threat: ancient monsters.
Max Brooks (World War Z) wrote the script for the upcoming film, which is being touted as the biggest production to ever shoot entirely in China. The Great Wall will hit theaters sometime in 2016.
Interesting article from Mental Floss:
On its release in 1997, the film Good Will Hunting proved to be a sizeable hit. It also garnered several Oscar nominations, with the late Robin Williams picking up a Best Supporting Actor gong.
Also taking home Oscar gold for the movie were then-debutant screenwriters Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Their script earned them an Academy Award apiece, but whilst they’d had a lot of interest in their work, it was proving tricky to get someone to properly commit.
Not that there was a lack of interest. Damon and Affleck had several studios involved, and several were making offers to the pair. Yet they opted to go with Miramax, then run – with his brother – by producer Harvey Weinstein.
So why did they choose him over a big studio? Weinstein appeared on The Graham Norton Show in the UK last week, and explained all.
“Everyone in Hollywood wanted Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and the film”, he recalled to Norton. “In the meeting with them, I said ‘I only have one really big note on the script. About page 60, the two leads, both straight men, have a sex scene. What the hell is that?'”
And that was a good question.
For there was method to Affleck and Damon’s madness. “That’s the scene”, they explained to Weinstein, “we wrote to see if guys like you read the script, because every studio executive we went to hadn’t read it. You’re the only guy who brought it up, so you get the movie”.
Good Will Hunting would go on to gross over $200m worldwide, reportedly costing just $10m to make.
Downsizing gets Reese Witherspoon as co-star. Via Variety
Reese Witherspoon has joined Matt Damon in the social satire “Downsizing,” to be directed by Alexander Payne.
Payne wrote the script with Jim Taylor, his partner in Fox-based Ad Hominem Enterprises. Damon joined the project in November.
The story centers on a man in the near future who realizes that he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself at a time when humans are able to do so to battle over-consumption and the depletion of the Earth’s natural resources.
Payne and Taylor won an Oscar for adapted screenplay for “Sideways.” Payne most recently directed “Nebraska.” Payne and Taylor also wrote the Oscar-nominated script for 1999’s “Election,” which starred Witherspoon.
Witherspoon has been nominated for a SAG award and a Golden Globe for “Wild,” which she also produced. She is repped by CAA and Rick Yorn at LBI.
Looks like Matt had to drop out of Manchester-by-the-sea due to schedulling conflicts. Via Collider:
Matt Damon’s busy schedule has forced him to drop out of reteaming with Margaret writer/director Kenneth Lonergan on the drama Manchester-by-the-Sea, but a friendly face will be filling in. Casey Affleck revealed to the Boston Globe (via The Playlist) that he’ll be replacing Damon as the lead in Lonergan’s new film, which revolves around a Boston plumber who is forced to look after his 16-year-old nephew after his brother passes away, but is hindered by a secret tragedy in his past. The You Can Count on Me writer/director Lonergan is an incredibly talented filmmaker, so his next effort is anticipated by many (myself included). No word on when production might begin.
Damon is currently leading Ridley Scott’s sci-fi drama The Martian and is poised to reteam with Paul Greengrass on another Bourne film for release in 2016, so fitting Manchester-by-the-Sea into his schedule ultimately proved impossible.
Universal has also announced that the “Untitled Next Bourne Chapter” will be released on July 29, 2016. Via Collider:
No offense to Aaron Cross and his chems, but if we have to have another Bourne movie, I’m glad it’s with Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass. After years of Damon refusing to do a sequel without Greengrass to the point where Universal threw up their hands and decided to reboot the franchise, the duo is returning. Furthermore, they’re going to be writing the script along with Christopher Rouse, who doesn’t have a writing credit but has edited all of Greengrass’ movies since The Bourne Ultimatum, which is perfect since Greengrass is known for finding the movie in the editing room anyway.
It’s worth noting that this will be the first Bourne movie without the involvement of Tony Gilroy, who is credited with the screenplay for all four Bourne movies, and he also directed The Bourne Legacy. However, in 2011, Damon slammed Gilroy’s Bourne Ultimatum script, telling GQ:
“It’s really the studio’s fault for putting themselves in that position,” Damon tells GQ. “I don’t blame Tony for taking a boatload of money and handing in what he handed in. It’s just that it was unreadable. This is a career-ender. I mean, I could put this thing up on eBay and it would be game over for that dude. It’s terrible. It’s really embarrassing. He was having a go, basically, and he took his money and left.”
Damon quickly apologized, although he didn’t retract his statement regarding the quality of the script. But again, script isn’t so much an afterthought in a Greengrass movie as much as it’s a broad outline, and I’m a little surprised it’s taken this long to officially credit his editor as a co-writer.
As for where this “next Bourne chapter” will take the character, I’m curious but also cautious. The Bourne Ultimatum is such a terrific conclusion to the character’s arc, and it was also a very sharp piece of political commentary regarding the War on Terror. If Greengrass still wants to make a political statement, there’s no shortage of material—spying on Americans; secret torture programs; drone strikes—and it will be interesting to see where a Bourne story fits in at the end of the Obama Administration as opposed to Ultimatum, which came near the end of the Bush Administration.
With Paul Greengrass set to direct again
The Bourne Reunion is officially official (though it’s not called The Bourne Reunion that we know of). E! News tracked Matt Damon down to a red carpet in Hollywood this weekend, and he’s confirmed that he and Paul Greengrass will indeed both return for a new outing of the action franchise.
“Yes, next year,” Damon told E!’s team. “It’ll be in 2016 when the movie will actually come out. Paul Greengrass is going to do another one and that’s all I ever said. I just needed him to say yes.” Damon was out promoting the new series of his filmmaking competition reality show Project Greenlight that is returning to US cable channel HBO.
And the news was initially brought up by Damon’s pal and Greenlight collaborator Ben Affleck, who was asked to compare their muscle tone given his recent Bat-workouts: “Well, Matt’s going to be doing a Bourne movie next fall when I’ve just completely lost any semblance of physical fitness…”
Damon and Greengrass have said on the record that they had no plans to revisit a story they felt they had already told. But then, they have both also mooted a potential return if the right script could be written and they could work together again, and that is the case now. With Damon’s comments, it appears the new Jason Bourne-focused film will indeed inherit the July 15, 2016 release slot that had been handed to the Bourne Legacy follow-up that Justin Lin is developing to direct.
EW has confirmed that Matt Damon will be starring in Alexander Payne’s new film, Downsizing.
The film, according to Deadline, is a social satire that follows a down-on-his-luck man who decides he can have a better life if he undergoes a process to shrink himself. It’s set at 20th Century Fox and Payne’s production company Ad Hominem Enterprises and will be written by Payne and Sideways co-writer Jim Taylor.
EW has also confirmed that the film will pull him out of starring in Zhang Yimou’s epic film, The Great Wall, which Damon was reportedly in talks to join. Damon will next start production on Ridley Scott’s The Martian and will be reteaming with Paul Greengrass for another installment in the Bourne franchise.
The last time Matt Damon and director Kenneth Lonergan worked together, the result was the well-regarded Margaret, which got stuck in release limbo for years as producers and financiers argued over its future. They’ll be hoping for an easier time of it on their next collaboration, Manchester-By-The-Sea.
Lonergan is working from a script he wrote that finds Damon as a plumber living in Boston who returns home to the titular town when he learns his brother has died. He’s landed with the responsibility of caring for his 16-year-old nephew, but a dark family tragedy from the past comes back to haunt him.
With Ender’s Game backers OddLot Entertainment providing the cash to make the film, Lonergan has worked quickly on this one, ramping up pre-production ready to kick off shooting in a month or so. Damon will be fitting the role into his schedule before he heads off to work on Ridley Scott’s sci-fi drama thriller The Martian, which itself is now recruiting the rest of the cast. Last on screen in The Monuments Men, Damon will next show up as part of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, which lands on November 7.
It’s become almost a yearly occurrence in the entertainment world to report on the possibility of Matt Damon returning to the Bourne franchise. To be truthful, who can really blame people for looking forward to the hint of another adventure with Jason Bourne, as the original trilogy spanned throughout almost a decade long reign of consistently intelligent espionage and fast-paced adrenaline. So it will come as no surprise to anyone that Matt Damon has gone on record yet again to say that he is open to the return of Jason Bourne, so long as Paul Greengrass comes back with him.
CNBC recently had Matt Damon on their CNBC Meets program, and as you’ll see in the interview above with host Tania Bryer, the keys to bringing him back to the table are the right story and Paul Greengrass. Mr. Damon threw in the following statement, so as to hedge his bets:“It felt like such a good way to end it the last time, but having said that I love that character… and I’d love to see what happened to him.”
While Matt Damon has always said that the story of the trilogy wrapped itself up with the end of Jason Bourne’s search for who he really was, it doesn’t seem like he’d have a problem getting into gear again to find out what happens to the man who knows everything he’s ever wanted. Come to think of it, any idea that brought him and Paul Greengrass to the table would be infinitely better than a continuation of the usually stellar Tony Gilroy’s The Bourne Legacy.
Between the film’s attempt at tying into The Bourne Ultimatum and adding yet another clandestine program gone horribly wrong, the film proved that if the Bourne series is going to even have a shot at a legacy, it’s best we just forget that the first attempt to continue it even existed. No offense against Jeremy Renner, but the Bourne franchise is, and should always will be a Matt Damon affair. If Paul Greengrass is required, then Universal would smart to trying and re-acquire Mr. Greengrass’ Memphis project as a gesture of good faith. While fast tracking its production and funding it in, the studio could exchange that favor for the next Bourne picture.
Of course, the best strategy would be for Universal to offer a “one for us, one for you” package that ensures a trilogy out of both Damon and Greengrass, as well as three other side projects that are also relevant to their interests. As long as they can come up with the right story, we could be set for another thrilling decade of Jason Bourne, and (if they can figure out how to integrate him properly) Aaron Cross.
The Monuments Men premiere at the 64th Berlinale International Film Festival, here are pictures from the Photocall, Press Conference and Premiere, thanks to Sammy from Shane West Online for the pictures!
- Appearances and Events > 2014 > 64th Berlinale International Film Festival – The Monuments Men Photocall & Press Conference – February 8th 2014
- Appearances and Events > 2014 > 64th Berlinale International Film Festival – The Monuments Men Premiere – February 8th, 2014