It was a good decision. “We were very lucky,” says Damon. “We had a better quarantine than we could have hoped for.” In addition to the house that housed them in the coastal community of Dalkey, they had the ones that had been rented by the cast and crew who returned to the United States. They were all empty now, so there was plenty of room for the Damons to spread out. In one home, for example, Damon installed the teachers they had been traveling with, allowing his children to have a private school of their own that they could walk to on a daily basis. His assistant and coach also got their own spaces. Within two kilometers that allowed them to move, they could swim in the sea and take long walks through the Irish countryside. It was a time away from the world.
“There was like a silence,” Damon muses. “There were no scripts sent, no work to be done, no people needing answers for something. It was simply taking the kids to school and then going to training or going for a walk. It was very simple. That part was revealing going forward, in terms of how I’d like to spend my days. “
Meanwhile, people elsewhere were watching a younger Damon deal with much more heartbreaking pandemic circumstances, as Contagion became a hit again. Surprisingly, these viewers were joined by Damon himself. “We were watching Apple TV and we ran into it,” he recalls. “People were a bit starved for information, and information was scarce at first. And then, I don’t know, I think we probably went through the same kind of conscious or subconscious process that everyone else went through and we just hit the jackpot. play”. Damon admits that he was surprised by what he saw. “I thought: It’s better than I remembered! When we released it, I think it felt more like a science fiction movie. It was thought to be far crazier than it actually was“.
Word soon spread that Damon and his family were there: in the upside-down world of spring 2020, this serendipity ended up jumping into the pages of The New York Times. The article, titled An Irish seaside town adopts Matt Damon, details some sightings of Matt in Dalkey and explains how a photo of the actor holding a bag from the Irish supermarket SuperValu “appears to have been his ticket to acceptance by the locals”, leading to a proliferation of “glowing memes and articles in the press. Irish “. The particular excitement generated by the SuperValu image, implicit in the statement “the-famous-are-like-us”, led many to believe that Damon had gone gloriously local, with his plastic bag full of cans. of beer and ready to pay a good tribute.
One of Damon’s neighbors from that time reminded me of the disruptions caused by the unexpected presence of this American movie star: “I have lived in this town, or next to this town, for 30 years; That bastard spends there three months and the King of Dalkey already does it! Is incredible. He’s caught in some kind of local photoshoot with a SuperValu plastic bag, rumor has it he’s carrying cans, and suddenly he’s got all the credibility some of us haven’t had in our lives. They love it! I mean, they are going to make a statue for him there. I don’t know what he went to or what he did. But it bothers me a lot. I’m not happy at all. “
The one who says this is Bono. His anger – “30 years I have been in that fishing village, and suddenly the fisher of men takes it over!” – is, of course, theatrical. Damon and Bono have been friends for some time. In fact, according to Damon, Bono was indirectly responsible for inspiring the third great pillar of Damon’s adult life., in addition to his acting career and his family: his work in expanding global access to water, mainly through the organization water.org. It happened in 2006. Damon was thinking of traveling to Africa with the Bono foundation. He planned to go as soon as he could find the time. It was then that, according to Damon, Bono applied his recognized powers of persuasion: “He called me and I said, ‘No, no, I’m going to go,’ and he said: ‘No, you’re going now.’ I said: ‘No, no, I can’t, my wife is pregnant.’ He replied, ‘There will always be an excuse, and you have to go now.’ And he was right. That was the beginning of it all. It wasn’t going to start until I went there. Nothing was going to happen until I started getting involved, and I think he knew it. ” (For his part, Bono minimizes his role in the story – “I think he gives me too much credit” – but extols Damon’s later achievements in this field: “I think he’s better at this than I am, more subtle, less intimidating, highly effective”).
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The evolution of Matt Damon