Matt Damon takes a stand against violent scripts

Matt Damon is almost visibly shivering. He's turned his mind back to the beginning of the decade, to a time when his career was on the skids. Robert Redford's golfing saga The Legend of Bagger Vance and the Cormac McCarthy adaptation All The Pretty Horses, both of which cast Damon in the lead, had tanked. Holed up in Paris, he was on the fourth round of re-shoots for The Bourne Identity. "All the indicators were that that was going to be a turkey too," he says. Going through his mind was the simple rule of baseball: three strikes and you're out. "Nobody had offered me a job in about nine months."

Then, sitting alone in his hotel room, he took a phone call. It was Steven Soderbergh, who – in Hollywood terms – was the hottest director on the planet back then, after his films Traffic and Erin Brockovich had both been nominated for Best Picture Oscars that year. He wanted Damon for a script he'd just received, based on Kurt Eichenwald's The Informant: A True Story.

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