Matt Damon brings attention to social and environmental issues through his latest film "Promised Land", which opens this Friday, December 28. Playing a corporate salesman who tries to buy a land in a rural U.S. town to drill oil with a controversial method known as "fracking," Damon discusses his personal point of view on the subject.
Speaking to Reuters, the "We Bought a Zoo" star shares that he wants the new film to raise awareness on the issue. "The point is that the movie should start a conversation," so he says. "It's certainly not a pro-fracking movie, but we didn't want to tell people what to think." Still, he notes that scribe John Krasinski never set out to make a socially conscious movie, noting that the "fracking" subject was added later as a backdrop to the story.
"It wasn't that we said we wanted to make a movie about 'fracking' as much as we wanted to make a movie about American identity, about real people," Damon explains. "We wanted to make a movie about the country today, where we came from, where we are and where we are headed. 'Fracking' was perfect because the stakes are so incredibly high and people are so divided. It asks all the questions about short-term thinking versus long-term thinking."
During the chat, Damon also talks about how he ended up working with Krasinski instead of getting paired with his longtime buddy Ben Affleck for this movie. "John showed up at my house every Saturday at breakfast and we would write all day until dinner," he recalls. "Then we'd do it again on Sunday. I have four kids so he would come to me."
At first, Damon wanted to make "Promised Land" his directorial debut, but due to his busy schedule he had to pass the project to Gus Van Sant. "My first inclination was to send the script to somebody I'd worked with before," he says. "Gus seemed like the most obvious choice and I realized later that I'd never written anything that anyone else had directed, except Gus. I have a real comfort level with him."
Though he still hasn't got a chance to direct his own film, Damon admits that he's not giving up his dream to become a filmmaker. Along with his best friend Affleck, he has set his eyes on a project at Warner Bros. Pictures. "I now happen to be partnered with the hottest director in Hollywood!" he says of the "Argo" helmer.