Matt Damon isn’t just a prominent face in Hollywood, he’s a bonafide movie star. He could go just about anywhere in the world and get recognized. The road to fame wasn’t always easy for Damon, but he kept pressing onward because he was hellbent on pursuing the singular passion he had in life. Now, Matt Damon has established himself as one of the finest actors of the past two decades, all because he didn’t give up. This is the story of Matt Damon.
Matt Damon was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and grew up in an unusual setting where 6 families occupied one giant house. His parents divorced when he was only two, but both were still a big part of his life. Damon first caught the acting bug when he was attending school in Boston and was largely inspired by his acting teacher, Gerry Specca, who also taught Damon’s best friend, Ben Affleck, and his brother Casey Affleck.
A big part of Damon becoming an actor was becoming a member of the Screen Actors Guild, which required an $800 membership fee to join. He was short by $200 and asked either one of his parents so that he could make an important step. Even though they didn’t want him to put his sole focus into acting, Damon’s father gave him the extra $200 so that he become a member and attend an audition for what turned out to be for the Mickey Mouse Club. Damon didn’t land that role.
Damon ended up attending college at Harvard, where he majored in performing art. He would attend school off and on because he gained small parts in movies that made him miss time. Damon decided to leave school with 12 credits left to graduate because he thought a movie in which he had a prominent role called Geronimo: An American Legend would put him on the map in Hollywood. Unfortunately for Damon, it didn’t quite turn out that way. Damon said the movie cost approximately $50 Million to make and grossed only $4 Million it’s opening weekend. Damon’s big break didn’t come and he would have to keep sticking it out in Hollywood going through continuous auditions to try and get his big break.
Damon yet another prominent part in a film called Courage Under Fire that starred Denzel Washington. Despite not being asked, he had lost 40 pounds in three months for the role, something that took quite a toll on his body. It was a drastic step to say the least, but he wanted to differentiate himself from the hundreds of actors vying for the role he earned. “I told myself there was no compromising because that second you open that door it’s a slippery slope. I wanted to look back on it and say I did everything I could,” Damon said.
Damon’s breakout to fame came from a script in which he wrote. Good Will Hunting won the hearts of many and remains one of the most iconic films of the last 20 years. For their writing efforts, Damon and Affleck won an Academy Award, taking the stage in utter shock. Damon continued to vault to massive celebrity when he was cast by Steven Spielberg in the titular role in Saving Private Ryan. Coincidentally, not knowing who Damon was, Spielberg had seen Damon in Courage Under Fire, and thought he was perfect for Saving Private Ryan besides the fact that he was too skinny.
From the late nineties on, Damon’s career has continued to soar. He has worked with some of the prominent directors in the industry, and always has a large draw at the box office. Box Office Mojo ranks him as the twentieth highest earning actor of all time. By the end of this weekend when Jason Bourne is released, the total gross of Matt Damon’s films will surpass $3 Billion Dollars.
Matt Damon built himself up into a critically acclaimed actor and box office juggernaut because he never lost sight in his ability and continued to grow as both an actor and person. He continues to give back with his time and effort to charities OneXOne (which he is a prominent member of), Feeding America and Water.org. He’s handled the sudden fame that was thrust upon him with great humility. He realized that everything around him carried the same importance, but the fame only changed his life, and not anyone else’s. For anyone looking into the industry in the capacities of acting, writing, and producing, Matt Damon is one of the best people you can look up to.
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