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Bourne Again

Matt Damon has no plans to get squishy

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Frank Marshall has produced more than 80 films since the early '70s. But deep down, under all the Hollywood producer glitz and glamor, he's just a regular guy. Forget that he's worked with directors like Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Peter Bogdanovich. Marshall is an average guy (albeit a rather well-connected one), who loves to combine the more mundane aspects of his job with what he likes to do; visit with friends and help non-profit agencies get a leg up. Marshall has premiered the last two Bourne films in Boise, both times to benefit various good causes and both times with Matt Damon. And on Monday they were here a third time, premiering their new film, The Bourne Ultimatum, the third and final installment in the Jason Bourne chronicles.

Sure, they've walked red carpets in glitzier places. And I'm sure they're used to better accommodations. But do they care? Does that stop them from coming here for each premiere in the Bourne franchise? No. To Marshall and Damon, a friend in need is a friend indeed, and those friends in Boise have grown over the years.

One extremely grateful friend and recipient of their good will has been Boise Contemporary Theater. BCT has worked hard over the years, not just to stay afloat but to ensure they never compromised the quality of work they chose to produce. Thanks to the big-budget movie premieres Marshall has so generously scheduled in Boise, BCT is finally in the black for the first time ever.

But enough of all the do-gooding and philanthropic fancies of the rich and famous. Just what was it like on the red carpet on Monday?

In one word, hot. In three words? Hot and crowded. All the fans in the Treasure Valley and their third cousins were out to catch a glimpse of the dapper Damon. And rightly so. He was a smiling, waving, true Hollywood star, standing right there on Capitol Boulevard, wearing a tan suit and blue button-down shirt, smiling for the cameras in all his Hollywood hotness. But I was more interested in his million-dollar mind, the one responsible for winning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting, the film he wrote with buddy Ben Affleck. The mind that dropped out of Harvard just 12 credits shy of a degree to start his acting career.

Matt Damon really is one good-looking fellow. Add to that the Oscar and Harvard smarts and you've got one dangerous combination for a man: brains and beauty. In celebration of Damon coming to Boise, and in the name of research, I decided to re-familiarize myself with Damon's body of work. Oh, and what a body it is. After hours of watching Damon on screen in everything from The Bourne Identity to Stuck on You, I felt I was an expert in his speech patterns, walk and every inch of his face. I thought I was ready to look him in the eye and shake his hand. Turns out I wasn't exactly as prepared as I'd hoped. He's better looking in person. He looks real. He stares intensely into your eyes when he's talking to you—and he is genuinely nice and down to earth. He gladly took photos with fans, he signed lots of autographs. And he answered all the questions of the press, without turning impatient or surly. I tried to ask him something different than all the other press lackeys on the line.

Boise Weekly: Are there any plans in the works to pen another screenplay with Ben Affleck?

Matt Damon: We do talk about it. We miss writing together. Ben actually just wrote and directed a film called Gone Baby Gone, which is coming out in a couple of months. But yeah, we've talked about it a lot, but logistically, it hasn't come together for us. We're always in different places, different states.

Since you and Ben Affleck are both now fathers to baby girls, are you going to go soft and squishy on us and co-star in some Daddy Day Care-type movie together?

No (laughs). No.

Which is more fun, crashing cars, or delivering serious lines?

Definitely crashing cars, it's far more fun than anything else.

Have you heard that NBA player Kevin Garnett was traded to the Boston Celtics this afternoon?

That's very good news. Really? I heard it was just rumors. That's the best news I've heard all week.

And in response to that question, Damon cracked a big smile and genuinely looked happy. He looked like a die-hard Boston sports fan, just a regular guy. Which, after all the red carpets and movie premieres, he really is.

The new Bourne installment is definitely my favorite of the series. It is action-packed, leaving viewers in awe of the amazing car chases and crashes. And what a cast. Besides Damon, the acting superheroes include Joan Allen, David Strathairn, Albert Finney, Scott Glenn, Paddy Considine and Julia Stiles. They all manage to blend into their characters without becoming caricatures. The action is exciting, the script intelligent and the film leaves the audience happy. Everyone in the Egyptian cheered. And Matt Damon? He said as he took the stage right before the movie started, "I'm so happy this movie doesn't stink!" Kudos, Matt Damon. And Boise looks forward to seeing you again soon.

The Bourne Ultimatum opens Friday, August 3, nationwide.

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