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Ben Affleck & Matt Damon Break Down Their Careers

"We met when you were 10 and I was 8..." "He tried to ride my coattails and he's been doing it ever since." Ben Affleck and Matt Damon take us through their shared career, including 'Field of Dreams,' School Ties,' 'Chasing Amy,' 'Good Will Hunting,' 'Dogma,' 'Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,' 'Jay and Silent Bob Reboot,' 'The Last Duel' and their newest film 'Air.'

Director: Jackie Phillips
Director of Photography: Dominik Czaczyk
Editors: Cory Stevens, Jason Malizia, Paul Isakson
Talent: Ben Affleck & Matt Damon
Producer: Ashley Hall
Line Producer: Jen Santos
Associate Producer: Emebeit Beyene
Production Manager: Andressa Pelachi
Production and Equipment Manager: Kevin Balash
Talent Booker: Tara Burke
Camera Operator: Shay Eberle-Gunst
Audio: Mike Faner
Production Assistants: Phillip Arliss, Ariel Labasan
Post Production Supervisor: Edward Taylor
Post Production Coordinator: Jovan James
Supervising Editor: Kameron Key
Assistant Editor: Marisa DeMarini

Released on 04/26/2023


We met, I think, when I was 10 And you were eight?

Yeah. So more than 40 years.

Really started hanging out in high school.

He wouldn't hang out with me, until then.

Once Ben had made a name for himself in local television--

He tried to ride my coattails

and he is been doing it ever since.

[both laughing]

[soft jazz music]

[Matt] Hi, I'm Matt Damon.

[Ben] I'm Ben Affleck.

This is the timeline of our careers.

[Ben And Matt] Together.

[soft piano music]

[Narrator] Go the distance.

[Mat] Field of dreams.

[Ben] So we did lot of extra work in Boston.

Because, we wanted to be actors,

and we knew College Pickman.

Which was a local casting agency.

And we could be close to sets, and watch people do things.

And one of the big movies that came to town,

was Field of dreams.

We're in the crowd like--

[Ben] We're in the bleachers. [laughs]

It was like 3000 people. [laughs]

And we're two of the 3000 people.

It was very hard to get any access to Fenway Park.

So I remember feeling like, wow.

We were really lucky, to even be in the ball park.

Yeah. It was a special thing,

like kind of behind the scenes, the game wasn't happening.

That was a big deal.

And I also remember seeing James Earl Jones,

Kevin Costner, play the scene,

where they walked down, one of the sort of alleys there.

The pedestrian ramps.

Kind of feeling like,

you know, wow, I'm close to a real movie with a real,

you know, Kevin Costner was like,

and James Earl Jones.

I mean, you couldn't kind of get bigger than that.

So, it was really a thrill.

I ended up, working with the same director again.

In Some of all fears,

and I was like, you know,

we worked together before.

And he didn't remember me,

but he was like, you and Matt.

And I was great.

Yeah. Okay, Matt too.

And funnily enough,

I went to visit the set of,

Some of all fears and Phil cast me again,

as an extra, in his movie.

[Ben laughs]

Remember, I put on a waiters coat,

and I walked past.

He thought you were Suited to it.

Yeah, no, you graduated to the lead of the next film,

that he did.

And I still remained an extra.

[Matt] I know who cheated.

[Brendan] Who?

It was Green.


Yeah, Green. I saw him do it.

You're a liar. I saw him Cheat.

I just remember with school ties audition,

after audition, I mean.

We auditioned so many times.

We both auditioned,

and Matt got a really cool leading part.

And I got cast as the bully anti-Semite with six lines.

Luckily, I didn't let it affect me.

Or my self-esteem at the time.

Later on, I did a movie called The Way Back.

Where I worked with a group of young guys,

who were playing, they're basketball players.

And it really reminded me.

Of how much fun we had. Yeah.

Being that team rehearsing the plays,

you know, the camaraderie of the group.

And Freddie Francis was the cinematographer.


Who is this legendary cinematographer.


And we met Cole Hauser on that, and Christopher O'Donnell,

and Anthony Rapp, and Randall Batinkoff,

Zeljko Ivanek, who's,


I mean, you know, was just in the last duel,

you know, he's somebody we've know, who's brilliant.

It was a big, big deal for us.

They did put us up,

in a small condo complex adjacent to a dump,


We moved into that place.

Did it on purpose. Yeah yeah.

Because we wanted to get out of the hotel.


And we realized,

the amount of money they had on the hotel deal.

We could take, and we saved like $5 a night,

by moving to the dump.

So we moved to the dump. We lived in the dump.

Felt great to be doing the movie together.

It was unclear, whether it was a big break,

but a lot of--

It was a big break for Brandon, actually.

Yeah, yeah exactly. Really kind of break-

And Chris O'Donnell got sent,

to a woman after that.

When you're a young actor,

you always had the sense of kind of,

who else is auditioning for what.

And what else is kind of going on.

And, had a couple of movies like that,

where you sort of felt like, okay.

Well some other people kind of broke.

And you were sort of back,

to like getting your pages faxed to you, and you know.

Going to your next audition.

You know.

If I told any of my friends back home about this,

they wouldn't believe me.

Over a failing grade in French.

Good grades, the right schools, the right colleges,

the right connections.

Those are the keys to the kingdom.

I remember this screen test, cause I already had the part.

They found Brandon, after a long search.

I mean, all of us had read for that role, multiple times.

And none of us were quite right for it.

But I just remember Brandon, I mean we both remember him.

As just being so kind. And,

such a sweet guy. Yeah, he just a really good

person Yeah.

You got that sense from Brandon,

that way it was like,

No ego.

It wasn't, and you know,

young guys can be sort of indistinguishable,

from chimpanzees, you know. Sometimes.

he was kind and gracious.

And he could have easily lorded it over everyone,

that he was the lead, and the guy.

And I remember he came to my house, for like a barbecue.

My mom's house in Cambridge, you know,

and he just was sweet.

I've always really.

I've just liked the guy and I'm really, really glad for him.

[actors singing]

The director really wanted me,

to have my shirt off.

And I remember thinking, how do I say to the director.

I don't want to have my shirt off.

I was subconscious about my body, and you know.

I didn't think I'd look good.

And then, but I was embarrassed to do pushups,

in front of the other guys. And.

Now no one's embarrassed.

By the way, you go in these sessions.

it's like 18 trainers, and was like pump.

You know what I mean?

Yeah. It's like weight sets

On. Yeah.

Everyone just very different.

At that time, you were supposed to pretend,

that you weren't vain.

There's no pretension to that.

No. [both laugh]

We'd like to start off by saying,

that it is a real pleasure to finally meet you.

Absolute pleasure.

One of the main reasons,

that we started this whole thing.

Was to finally meet the guys,

that do Bluntman and Chronic.

Snootchie bootchies! Huh?

[everyone laughs]

It was the first time, I had ever been.

Played a lead.

I had been cast as like, is it bullies and baddies.

So for Kevin, to cast me as somebody with feelings,

who was sensitive, who was-

who had dialogue.

That that was interesting.

Was huge for me.

You Gotta respect that kind of display of affection,

you know what I mean?

Sure. It's crazy, it's rude, it's self-absorbed, but-

You Know, it's love.

That was a $250,000 budget, and I slept on Kevin's couch.

And it was like, you got a buddy, this guy Mat,

he'll, will he be in it?

And Matt was better known,

better known than I was.

He had done, Geronimo, he had been the, you know

second leading school ties.

He had done a Tommy Lee Jones, TNT film.



So that was a great coup, to have Matt help-

But that was a huge role for you, as Jason.

It was a big, big deal for me.

Kevin Smith was really obliging.

So, he gave me a lot of small parts over the years,

in movies that, were Ben was the lead.

He was totally happy to exploit Matt Stardom,

for his own benefit,

and so was I.

No, no, no.

You don't owe it to yourself.

You owe it to me, because tomorrow I'm gonna wake up.

And I'll be 50, and I'll still be doing this shit.

That's all right.

That's fine.

I mean, you're sitting on a winning lottery Jacob.

I started it, in a playwriting class in college.

And wrote the first 40 pages of it.

And handed it.

We were tasked with writing a one act play for this.

By the end of the semester.

And I handed this into the professor, who I really liked.

And I said, I think I failed your class.

Because this is not act play.

But I believe it's the first act of a movie.

He was really effusive in his praise, for what I'd done.

And he gave me an A in his class, which really,

and he said, keep going with this.

I showed it to Ben and I had enough.

Because of this professor's reaction,

I had enough confidence to show it to my friend.

And I said, I don't know what to do.

Like I'm stuck with this.

And Ben read it and goes,

I don't know what to do either,

but we should do it together.

And that was it.

Of that initial 40 pages.

Only like five pages survived.

The one scene that survived,

was this first meeting that I have with Robin Williams.

[Ben] Which is almost verbatim-

it's almost verbatim the way, I Yeah.

That scene we both really liked.

Ben out of the blue, just said,

you know, if he said those things to the guy, you know.

Meaning, Robin Williams.

The guy would have to have a response, you know.

And I think, he would tell him a story.

I think it would be a-

And he started to kind of like, chunk out.

That whole monologue that Robin Williams has,

on the park bench, To me.

You Don't know about real loss.

Cause that only occurs when you love something more,

than you love yourself.

I doubt, you have a dare to love anybody that much.

We didn't have any aspirations to write.

We were, we really wanted jobs as actors.

That was our entire goal.

The gift we had,

was we had a high school teacher,

really who didn't make it feel like,

these were distinct silos.

We had us improvise and create our own scenes.

And sort of semi write them.

He would really actually kind of rewrite them,

and make them, make sense.

But we had the sense, that we were writing them.

So we felt empowered

In this. The way we wrote the movie,

Was exactly the way Jerry taught us to write in high school.

Yeah, for sure.

With our actors, we're always very-

solicit solicitous of,

What they're feeling, cause they're in it.


And so, when somebody's in it.

Like, I remember mini drivers saying like,

I feel like ,and we were like.

Whatever you feel, do it,

is do it right.

Like, if it doesn't feel,

like you should say that, don't say that.

Right. We wrote the wrong line. [laughs]

like- Yeah.

We're not coming from some like.

we've written this mighty Ta-pros,

and speak it, as it's written, written,

and roll tripingly off the tongue.

We were like, this is probably a disaster.

I'm sure, what should can do is better.

All of you here, who are actors, are all writers.

You are filmmakers. you're all part of this thing.

All of your voices are important.

You're all gonna contribute something,

that we couldn't come up with ourselves.

So like, please be generous and and give it to us.

Casey's bouncing up a bar, at Harvard next week.

We should go up there.

What are we gonna do up there?

I don't know

We'll fuck-up some smart kids.

Probably fit right in.

It was more pressure to be in Boston.

I remember the first night we were there.

A bunch of our high school friends,

showed up with a case of beer.

And we were like, guys, this is.

This is not the beer time.

we're working.

Like this isn't like, I think they were.

They associated us coming to Boston, with like, an opening.

Yeah, yeah. [laughs]

like it's a big party, you know what I mean?

Like, like it's a movie opening.

We're all going to the movie.

Associated most things with beer.


And we were like, you know, Fuck off.

Like we're shooting at six in the morning.

You guys gotta leave.

Sean. If the professor calls about that job,

just tell him.

Sorry, I had to go see about a girl.


son of a bitch.

He stole my line.

Robin would open the door and come out,

and he'd find this letter.

And I was right next to Gus, next to the camera.

And I would say, cause I we wanted,

we want it him, as if he was hearing my voice right.

said, you know. Sean,

if the professor calls about that job,

tell him sorry, I had to go see about a girl.

So I would say that.

And what was scripted was that,

He just takes a moment and he realizes that I'm gone.

And in true Rob in fashion, we did 60 takes.

You know, like we just left the camera rolling.

And he kept coming out, and he kept coming out.

And he did something different every single time.

And I remember.

When he said son of a bitch, he stole my line.

I grabbed Gus's shoulders, like I.

And I felt him tense up like we both knew.

We were like, holy shit.

Like, what a line.

Like, how did we not think of that?

Like that is great.

So Obvious. Obviously

the whole movie was leading to that line.

Like, clearly we thought this whole thing out.

Just like we planned.

It was a very surreal experience to go.

Because the year before,

we were shooting Goodwill hunting.

We watched it in the condo we rented in Toronto,

with Gus, and Casey, and Cole.

And to go from that experience where, you know.

We filled out the sheets.

And we were betting on who was gonna win.

To being in the front row, of the Oscars together.

With our moms, in one year.

It felt like warp speed.

to suddenly be,

and have Billy Crystal singing a song about us.

We were sitting next to our moms.

and we won, and we kind of hugged our moms.

And I remember,

how everyone had made such a big thing out of it.

As if this was the novelty.

And I remember thinking, being insecure, like why.

Why is it we are, that we're bringing our moms?

Like, who else do you think we would bring?

You know what I mean?

Like that, there was nobody else that was gonna go to.

You know what I mean?

That was it.

Of course our moms were gonna go.

That was, really was innocent and not faked.

And, I remember Alec Baldwin off stage.

Oh yeah, yeah.

Him being like, enjoy this, Remember this.

what you have, don't fuck this up.

And I was like I can't,

I can't feel anything.

Had We been given free will,

we could choose to ignore the paint, like they do.

But no,

We're servants.


You know, all I'm saying here is,

that one of us might need a little nap.

Kevin's very focused on the written word,

and he's got a very kind of like, a cadence that he likes.

But I thought, it was a really creative, interesting script.

and it was a sort of imagining of Catholicism.

In a very literal sense, and also in a comic sense.

I was thinking my kids would actually might like,

that they have that sense of humor.

Kevin's always had a sense of humor of an adolescent.

I have seen,

What happens to the proud, when they take on the throne.

I'm going back to Wisconsin.

We're going home, Loki.

And no one, not you.

Not even the almighty himself.

Is gonna make that otherwise.

It was a Really fun movie. It was a great cast too.

Interest movie. George Carlin.

Linda Fiorentino, Chris Rock.


[Ben] Alan Rickman

[Mat] Alan Rickman, Yeah.

Was a really cool group of people to be,

Alanis Morrisette.

Yeah. Yeah.

It was like a fun group of people,

to just be associated with.

It felt special and it felt, it felt like, you know.

I was doing that,

and Shakespeare in love at the same time.

So I had to have the same haircut.

And all of a sudden.

I was doing like multiple movies.

And mixing-it around for a year.

Waiting to be on al special.

And all of a sudden, you know.

I was doing different different parts. And it.

It was a very exciting exhilarating thrilling time,

to be 25, or whatever I was.

Tongue or lion face?

lion face.

Lion face, Ha!

lemon face.

lion face, Ha!

Lemon face.

Break it down.

Are we taking it from Guss?

Guss was like, not even paying attention.

He was just counting a stack of money behind the camera.

And really funny idea, you know.

That like we instantly completely sold out.

And were already making,

goodwill hunting 2, hunting season.

It was like a day of shooting.

And yeah, we got everybody back together,

from that bar scene.

It was kind of our desire, to kind of like.

Our reaction to, what was,

a very just personal small seeming intimate sort of movie.

That then became kind of something bigger.

I remember, feeling kind of wanting to react against it.

And maybe like, not in a smart way.

But like thinking like no, I'm just still the same person.

I want to sort of debunk this whole idea of being.

You know, like that this is somehow like special,

or something.

I don't know, it was very confusing.

You know, the idea, well I'm gonna be real.

I'm gonna be the same person but life is different.

You say I am not the captain.

You say to me, I am not the captain here?

I say to you, whatever I Like.

I decide who's the captain at Belleme.

I read the book.

And Scorsese had been attached to it,

for a really long time.

And his option had run out.

I guess, he didn't know exactly what

he want it to do with it. Couldn't crack-it, really.

Yeah. Couldn't crack-it.

And I wrote to Drew Godard, who wrote The Martian.

And in this series of emails back and forth.

We kind-of came across this idea,

of making it a story of perspective.

And telling it from three different perspectives.

And having her perspective.

The person with the least agency,

be the person who's the most honest,

and sees the world really for what it is.

And Ben was over for dinner, and was like,

what are you working on?

I'm like, I don't know, I got this thing.

well what is it?

And I explained the idea.

and he goes, that's a great idea.

where's the book?

And I handed him the book.

And like the next morning, at seven, he called me.

and he was like, I want to do it, let's write it together.

And I was like.

Did you stay up all night and read the book?

And he was like, yeah.


Lord I become your man.

I swear I shall serve you for life.

As we started working together, it was so much fun.

Not that the subject matter-

and Nicole Holofcener, should be said,

wrote the best stuff in the movie.

And was a joy to work with.

Yeah it was amazing. But That process,

the three of us.

Was so much fun and so rewarding.

Jody and Adam, who were amazing.

oh man.

Really, was really, you know.

Just was very kind and collaborative.

It was really a learning experience for me.

Watching him shoot, I thought like, okay.

I gonna steal this, I gonna steal this, I'm gonna steal this

I'm gonna steal.

Somebody I've idolized for a long time.

At somewhere along the, that point where we thought,

Why haven't we done this more.

And we should do this more often.

Cause it was so much- it was so fun.

Even as dark and and painful a story as that.

Is thrilling if you love it and we loved it.

I'm willing to bet my career on Michael Jordan.

Come on man.

You asked me what I do here.

This is what I do.

Yeah. I find you players and I fucking feel it this time.

I think people have a vision,

of the director with the bullhorn and the riding crop,

and the beret or something, like. You know.

But really to me, it's about casting great performers.

And trying to make them feel comfortable,

and valued and at ease.

Cause you're gonna get the most beautiful stuff.

And also Matt's a fucking genius,

who I really didn't even quite realize how good he was,

Until I was cutting them.

You get painted into a corner a lot.

And you need to have that rip cord, that shoot,

that emergency shoot, which was always Matt.

No matter what was happening in a scene,

you could cut to Matt.

He's always authentic, he's always present.

And there's always something interesting,

about what he's doing.

He's beautiful and magnificent,

in this movie.

And it made me realize how,

how really good he's been throughout.

Look, Ben's a great director.

And that's very generous to say that I was somehow.

You know, indicating to people that they could trust him.

I mean, I think the fact that,

he's already got the best picture, Oscar.

the people signed up, and they were pretty excited about it.

The environment, as I've heard all of them say,

and all of them have been talking about.

you know, Was about as good as it gets in terms,

of being open to create, and bring what you bring.

And feel like your ideas were gonna have a forum.

And the best idea would win.

So it's kind of, the dream set really.

turns out, he knows what He's doing.

If you really look at Jordan like I did.

you're gonna see exactly what I see.

Which is what?

The most competitive guy, I have ever seen.

He is a fucking killer.

Every day was a joy.

Got to work with Matt every day.

I love the guy.

I really appreciate his friendship and the experience,

of the joy of friendship in this life.

And, you know, he's-

it's wonderful.

It's a real gift.

Honestly, The best job I ever had.

I literally, I mourned it when it was over.

I really did.

it was so fun.

At some point we got convinced of this idea.

Like, well you don't wanna work together all the time.

Oh, you'll become sort of associated with each other.

And that's negative.

But ultimately, it was sort of like, fuck that.

I don't know, let's work together.

Cause that's the beautiful, that's the fun.

And we're getting old, you know. And it's like.

you know.

I mean what after my father passed away.

like it really does give you a perspective of-

We can now look at the last 20 years and go like.

Well the benefit of hindsight,

what would we have done differently?

And I think, we both came to the conclusion,

that we would've worked together a Lot more.

Yeah, you had 50, you might not get 20 more.

Life is happening now.

You know. Right.

It's not the decision

[Mat] you make tomorrow. Right.

This is it.

This is what we want to do.

Yeah, right here.

Thank you.

Starring: Ben Affleck, Matt Damon

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