The celebrity screenwriters behind “Good Will Hunting” are itching to write together again.
“It’s something we talk about every time we see each other,” Matt Damon said of longtime friend Ben Affleck. “We want to do it, it’s just a matter of handling the logistics and figuring out a way to get us in the same place at the same time.”
One script the pair has talked about writing is an adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel “Gone, Baby, Gone,” about a detective duo in Boston (where else?) who investigate the kidnapping of a 4-year-old girl.
“Ben’s got the rights to that one, but I don’t really know what’s going on with that right now,” Damon said. “A lot depends on whether or not he wants to be in it or he wants to direct or where his head’s at with it, but I’ve been so busy doing all these other movies that we haven’t had a chance to sit down. … It’s been about seven years that we’ve both been working consistently. Having struggled so long through our teens and early 20s, it’s kind of anathema to us to turn down work.”
Though Damon and Affleck have both enjoyed successful careers since writing and starring in “Good Will Hunting,” both consider the 1997 drama their crowning achievement, or, as Damon puts it, “the most creatively fulfilling experience for us.”
Damon and Affleck, through their LivePlanet production company, have since worked together on “Project Greenlight,” which will return to the Bravo channel in January for a third season. They also created Spike TV’s fall series “American Start-Up,” a reality show that will fund eight small businesses with $50,000 capital and eliminate the most struggling company each week.
Matt and Ben’s friendship has become such a pop-culture fascination that it inspired an off-Broadway hit, “Matt & Ben.” The production, which features women playing the two actors, takes place a decade ago, with the “Good Will Hunting” script literally landing in their laps, a nod to Hollywood lore that ghostwriters wrote the final version.
“I haven’t seen it,” Damon said. “Some people have said it’s funny, some people have said it’s kind of a knock or whatever. I just figure it’s like an extension of ‘Project Greenlight’ — it’s a chance to give people a job.”
Speaking of getting a job, Damon said before “The Bourne Identity” had an impressive opening weekend, he had a problem doing just that.
“I hadn’t been offered a movie in a year because ‘The Legend of Bagger Vance’ had come out and bombed and ‘All the Pretty Horses’ had come out and bombed, and the word on ‘The Bourne Identity’ was that it was gonna tank,” Damon recalled. “So nobody gave me any job offers for quite some time, so I went and did a play in London, and we closed on a Saturday night and ‘Bourne’ had opened that Friday. And by the time I got back to New York on Monday there were something like 30 script offers.”
Damon has “The Brothers Grimm” with Heath Ledger in the can and is about to finish “Ocean’s Twelve,” then it’s on to combing through a stack of scripts for his next projects.
Damon is open to making a third “Bourne” movie if the script is good enough to match “The Bourne Supremacy,” which has made $104 million so far this summer. “I said before [making 'Supremacy'] there was no reason to make it unless we thought we could make it better than the first one,” he said.
Check out everything we’ve got on “The Bourne Supremacy.”
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