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Dublin: 4 °C Monday 27 January, 2020

Here's why Matt Damon's publicist has the hardest job in Hollywood right now

Someone get that publicist a glass of Pinot.

The Martian European Premiere - London Source: Anthony Devlin

MATT DAMON’S REIGN as the most charming man in Hollywood always seemed a little bit too good to the be true.

Those teeth, that smile, the youthful Oscar win with his best mate, the appearance on the greatest episode of Graham Norton ever, the membership in George Clooney’s Gang of Magnificent Craic. A publicist’s dream.

Then, a few weeks ago, the cracks appeared. He tried to explain how diversity works to a black filmmaker. He spoke over her to explain it, in fact.

Big mistake. Huge.

He said he was sorry for offending people. He explained himself. His publicist breathed a sigh of relief and hoped that people would now just exclusively talk about how great The Martian is and how sad it is that Damon’s ponytail is gone because he was TOTALLY working it.

Then, two days ago, this Guardian interview came out…

matt Source: The Guardian

.. and Matt Damon’s publicist immediately sent at least two texts to friends asking if they wanted to run away to a remote island, and in the meantime did they want to come over and drink 7 bottles of wine and watch Never Been Kissed and forget about work for a few hours.

In the interview Damon is asked, in the context of him having played a gay man in the 2013 film Behind The Candelabra, if it’s harder for actors to be openly gay in Hollywood.

matt2 Matt Damon and Michael Douglas in Behind the Candelabra Source: HBO

I’m sure. When Ben and I first came on the scene there were rumours that we were gay because it was two guys who wrote a script together.

“Really?” asks the interviewer. “I know”, says Damon:

It’s just like any piece of gossip… and it put us in a weird position of having to answer, you know what I mean? Which was then really deeply offensive. I don’t want to, like [imply] it’s some sort of disease – then it’s like I’m throwing my friends under the bus. But at the time, I remember thinking and saying, Rupert Everett was openly gay and this guy – more handsome than anybody, a classically trained actor – it’s tough to make the argument that he didn’t take a hit for being out.

There’s so much going on there. Was the implication that they were gay deeply offensive? Were the questions about their own private business deeply offensive? Was them having to deny it like there was something wrong with it deeply offensive? And what was this about Rupert Everett? Was he saying that Rupert Everett’s career took a hit because he was out?

Damon went on:

I think it must be really hard for actors to be out publicly. But in terms of actors, I think you’re a better actor the less people know about you period. And sexuality is a huge part of that. Whether you’re straight or gay, people shouldn’t know anything about your sexuality because that’s one of the mysteries that you should be able to play.

Hmmm. The publicist cancelled all social engagements for the week, and anticipated the headlines. These headlines:

sp Source: Washington Post

damon Source:

People said that Matt Damon thought gay actors should stay in the closet. He didn’t actually say that, but that’s what people said he said.

And once again, he had to clarify his comments. He went on Ellen (he was going on anyway, to be fair):

I was talking about it in the context of  when Ben and I first started and people wrote all these articles (when Good Will Hunting came out) that we were gay, because it was two guys who wrote the script. Then you have to address it and then it’s like “well I’m not going to throw my friends under the bus who are gay and act like it’s some kind of disease”.
I was just trying to say actors are more effective when they’re a mystery. And somebody picked it up and said that I said gay actors should get back in the closet. It’s painful when things get said that you don’t believe.

And then Ellen tweeted:

And the publicist breathed a sigh of relief. A shout out from Ellen. That’s as good as a caress from the hand of God. Or a text from Oprah.

But that’s two perceived Bad Opinions from Matt Damon in two weeks. Are people sick of his good lad image and no longer willing to let him away with anything? Or does he just have some Bad Opinions that he can’t keep in anymore. Is there a Matt Damon backlash on the way?

That publicist is on a knife’s edge. And hoping people have forgotten about the time Damon kind of dumped Minnie Driver during a TV interview.

Oho, we haven’t forgotten.

Matt Damon has a ponytail now, and it’s threatening to break the internet

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About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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