Oscar-winner Matt Damon has long-since proven his versatility by handling a diversity of demanding roles. His memorable performances have come in pictures which cut across all genres, flicks like Good Will Hunting, Saving Private Ryan, Rounders, Oceanâ€™s Eleven and Oceanâ€™s Twelve, The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy, Finding Forrester, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Dogma, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Jersey Girl and Eurotrip.
With The Brothers Grimm, Matt again makes the most of an opportunity to demonstrate his impressive range. This bio-pic, which co-stars Heath Ledger, is very loosely based on the lives of the legendary authors of over 200 classic fairy tales, including Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood. Here, he reflects on what it was like adopting an accent to work with a very adventuresome director, namely, Terry Gilliam of the legendary Monty Pythonâ€™s Flying Circus.
KW: Was it fun making this movie with a director who is also a comedian?
MD: Yeah, but it was a different kind of fun. Hard work fun. There was a lot to kind of geek out about, because Terry shoots with 14mm lenses and 17mm lenses, so you can kind of see the whole world. Then he packs the frame so densely, from side to side, and really deep, that you have like 15 elements working in any one shot. So, all these different departments have to get their jobs done perfectly in order for the shot to work. The fun and rewarding part of our day was when weâ€™d actually get a shot that was Terry Gilliam approved, and we could move on to another one.
KW: How did you decide on your accent for this role?
MD: Well, that was Terryâ€™s decision. Even though the Grimms are German, he didnâ€™t want us marching around the forest going, â€œVat are you doing?â€? But he still wanted it to sound foreign, though, particularly to Americans. So, he went with English.
KW: Did the British accent come easily to you?
MD: No, it was really hard for me. Iâ€™ve found that I donâ€™t really have a problem with accents in this country. I can just go there and fall into it. But with British, there are just a lot of sounds in that accent that we donâ€™t have that I really have a lot of trouble hearing. And Iâ€™ve lived in London. I did a play over there a couple of years ago. So, Iâ€™ve spent a lot of time there. Itâ€™s just that I canâ€™t hear it, and you have to develop certain muscles that we donâ€™t use, in order to do it. So, it was really hard for me.
KW: Do you relish the challenge of playing a character which tests your ability to stretch?
MD: Yeah, I wonâ€™t name names, but Iâ€™ve asked actors, â€œWhy arenâ€™t you excited about what youâ€™re doing?â€? And they say itâ€™s because theyâ€™re going to play the same guy that they play every single time. Itâ€™s become like going to the salt mines for these guys. For me, each movieâ€™s so different.
KW: Why so?
MD: I think itâ€™s a combination of the directors you choose and having a philosophy of wanting to try things that are different, whether they succeed or not, and. Thereâ€™s nothing straightforward about Terry. And I think this is also a philosophy which works in terms of how to live your life.
KW: So, is it crazy on a set being run by a comedian like Terry Gilliam?
MD: No, everyoneâ€™s really focused. Itâ€™s unbelievable working with him. His sets are like a church. The quietest Iâ€™ve ever experienced. You canâ€™t imagine it. Thatâ€™s the one thing that makes it not feel like a movie set, is how quiet it is. Everyoneâ€™s pretty happy to be working for him, so itâ€™s kind of a reverential a
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