Matt Damon is in the middle of his worldwide Jason Bourne promo tour and with that comes a stop on Reddit. He’s done an AMA (Ask Me Anything) before for The Monument’s Men, and gave pretty thorough answers then too. Except, this time around, Matt’s doing more than just dishing out advice or Hollywood stories – he’s reframing his “Matt and Ben” narrative to include Casey Affleck… as an equal.
In the AMA, he refers to Casey by name four separate times. In 2014? Casey received zero direct mentions in Matt’s online Q&A. This time around, Matt’s pimping out his buddy, and bigging him up at every opportunity.
Matt, of course, produces Casey’s upcoming awards season effort, Manchester by the Sea. Manchester by the Sea won major raves at Sundance, and ended up leaving the festival with a cool $10-million pick-up from Amazon. The standout performance of the film though is Casey’s. He’s been nominated for an Oscar once before, for 2007’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and if you believe Matt, he’s due for recognition again.
Check out Matt’s answer when asked who his favourite actor is to work with:
“That's a really tough question because I've worked with so many really wonderful people, people who I admire a lot and become friends with. Choosing one would be really tough but I have to say, going back in my career, Casey Affleck is one of the best actors that I've ever seen in my life. Growing up with him, he's 5 years younger than me, he's kind of like a little brother to me, but watching his work develop over the years has been really fun. There's a movie that I produced that's coming out called Manchester by the Sea. I'm as proud of that as anything I've ever been a part of. Casey is the lead in that movie, Kenny Lonergan directed it, and Casey is absolutely brilliant in that movie. I'm really proud to see what the world thinks of this movie, it's a beautiful little movie.”
It’s a little movie that’s getting a lot of advance love.
And when talking about the “best advice he ever received”? Once again, Casey is mentioned in the same breath, and with the same esteem as him and Ben.
“The other advice that I would say, my high school acting teacher Gerry Speca had a huge influence on me and Ben and Casey.”
Don’t fret – he talks a lot about Ben in the Q&A too and jokes Ben gives himself the best parts in his movies, but it’s the inclusion of Casey that’s particularly interesting, and good for the gossip forecast.
Manchester by the Sea will premiere Nov. 18, making it prime fodder for Oscar season, and Matt’s starting his BFF hustle early. We know Matt can play the long game – he lobbied for golden recognition for his The Martian director Ridley Scott at the Palm Springs Film Festival in January, and when he didn’t get a Best Director nomination, he shifted into a different campaign narrative to help him win the Best Picture Oscar for producing instead. Plus, he has an even stronger bond with director Kenneth Lonergan who directed him to one of the best performances of his career in the little-seen Margaret, a shelved project which finally hit theatres in 2011.
But the Manchester by the Sea campaign looks to be a fun one. Matt produced the movie with John Krasinski, so expect teases of a Matt-Luciana and Emily Blunt-John Krasinski red carpet parade over the next few months. Emily’s The Girl on the Train hits theatres in October, and both movies are well-seeded for an appearance at TIFF in September.
So, what will a Casey Affleck awards season look like? Which outlet will get the first tell-all interview about his March split from wife of 10 years, Summer Phoenix? How does a Matt and Casey bromance translate on a red carpet? (Lainey: and how will Ben, who has his own projects to promote in the fall, participate in the campaign?)