10 Things: Matt Damon on Philip Seymour Hoffman, George Clooney Pranks and More

Matt Damon killed some time back stage at The Jimmy Kimmel Show this morning as he and the cast of The Monuments Men prepare for tonight’s promotional appearance. He also chatted about a fundraiser that he and longtime friend Ben Affleck are participating in. You can click the image below to enter for a chance to go a star-studded private event courtesy of Omaze.


In between all the promotional banter, Damon answered a wide range of fan questions and shared his thoughts on Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kevin Smith and how George Clooney pranked him. Again. 


He took a pay cut for many of his prior films.

“For most films you take a pay cut, especially if you’re working with an ensemble. They just can’t pay what everyone’s quote is, because the movie would be too cumbersome and no one could make it. I’ve done that with all of the Ocean’s movies. You have an established quote, and the studio decides what percentage everyone takes. So everyone cuts the same percentage of their agreed upon salary. Actually, I think the only time I got my full quote was for the third Bourne movie.”

He was pretty close to Philip Seymour Hoffman.

“We worked together a long time ago and I would see him here and there, all over the place. I’d go to his plays at the Labyrinth and I saw him just last year, we were working on Monuments Men and had dinner with him. The last time I saw him, I took my oldest daughter to The Hunger Games premiere in LA and we had a chat before the movie started. It’s just incredibly weird that he’s not around anymore.”


He’s looking for new friends.

“I have 32 years of being Ben’s friend, I’m definitely ready for somebody new to hang out with. It’s gonna be a great time. We have a really fun night planned and we’ll probably be in some kind of competition to befriend the winner so they leave the experience saying that one of us is better than the other. I’m personally committed to making sure the winner likes me more than Ben. And if it means us starting a secret handshake or joining a bowling league, I’m in. “

He hates junk mail.

“I think it would be great if we could make all that junk mail electronic.”

He’s deeply concerned about education and academic policy in the country.

“My mom’s a professor and she’s become increasingly concerned, as have a lot of teachers, about the way policy is being designed in this country. It’s being designed by a bunch of people who aren’t teachers. They talk about accountability, but they’re measuring with these standardized tests, which I believe in my heart they will start fading out. It just demonstrably does not work. No Child Left Behind does not work. I’ve always believed that they have to invite teachers into the discussion to help design policy. We would never let business men design warheads, why would you cut out educators when you’re designing education policy?”

He picks a winner if Edawrd Norton, Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio were in a fight to the death.

“Well, Ben is a lot bigger than those guys. He’s hopelessly uncoordinated, but he is a big dude with a huge reach advantage. Edward is smart though, so he might think of some brainiac survivor way to pit the others against each other and be the last remaining man. Leo… I’m not counting Leo out. I’m just saying I don’t know about Leo. Anyway, Wahlberg would kill all of them.”

He would like to work with Kevin Smith again. (ahem) Clerks III.

“I love Kevin, I love working with him. He’s awesome. I wish he directed more, but I think he’s retired.”


He gets mistaken for Mark Wahlberg.

“This happened to me yesterday; I was walking down the street with my kids, and this guy screamed “MARK WAHLBERG!” I just kept walking, because I’m not Mark, and he kept screaming “MARK WAHLBERG! I SEE YOU! DON’T WALK AWAY! MARK WAHLBERG! WE KNOW IT’S YOU!” and then he runs up to me and he says, “I love your work!” And then this woman comes up, and says “I love your family, tell your brother I said Hi!” So I said “Yes, I’ll tell Donnie Wahlberg you said Hi.” If people are insistent, theres no convincing them I’m not Mark, so I just become him and try to be nice to them. My kids were with me and there’s no easy way to explain that situation to them.”

He likes a particular kind of ice cream cone.

“My feelings about ice cream cones? I like ‘em. I’m all for ‘em. Do I prefer the sugar cone or the waffle cone? I like any cone that’s like wrapped in chocolate and nuts. That’s a pretty decadent cone. I’m all for that one.”


George Clooney pranked him last week.

“I got these giant fruit baskets in the mail from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. They had just made jokes at everyone’s expense at the Golden Globes that were really funny. George made up stationary with my name on it, and sent a really wounded letter to Tina and Amy saying my feelings were really hurt, how could they do this, etc. So they sent two fruit baskets. One had a letter with an apology. Another said “If this is part of some Clooney prank, please know that we’re grown-ass comedians, and you have to do a little better to fool us.” So I photographed the letters and emailed them to George with a caption that said “Go f**k yourself.” He’s honestly a child. I can just see his shoulders shaking when he laughs alone in his house.”

You can read the full Reddit Q&A session with Matt Damon here.


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