The Hollywood Reporter held a roundtable discussion for six "leading men," including Richard Gere, Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx and Matt Damon. All of them are both thoughtful and humble. But interestingly, Matt Damon emerges as the guy most critical of the business and with the most feminist observations about how Hollywood stamps an expiration date on its women.
While discussing the childrens’ involvement in the acting business, Damon, whose daughters are pre-school age, pipes up that he wants to keep his kids out of Hollywood.
I would try to steer my daughters away from acting. Women are in a different business than we are. It is just brutal for women. For us, the roles get really good at 40 and beyond. And that’s really when you start doing your best work.
Gere then interjects with a but-what-about-Susan-Sarandon? comment, but Damon continues undetered, comparing aging actresses to aging athletes who are no longer the hot shit:
It’s like being a pro athlete: I have friends who were athletes and are now retired. They’re my age, and they talk about the frustration of knowing more about their craft and suddenly they’re not able to play anymore.
The actors also discussed how fame changes a person, particularly regarding how people treat you differently. Damon continued to be critical of how the business works:
When we started [writing] Good Will Hunting, I was 22 and Ben [Affleck] was 20, and it came out when I was 27 and Ben was 25. I always had this theory that you kind of retard emotionally at the moment you become famous: It’s not that you change; the world changes in its relationship to you. So your entire reality shifts. And that’s a jarring experience and hard to prepare for.
It’s certainly an interesting theory and would explain the likes of, say, Chris Brown and Britney Spears, who always seem like overgrown high school sophomores. "Retard[ing] emotionally" at 27 isn’t the worst thing in the word to happen to you, Matt Damon.
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