By Kenzie Bryant. Photos: Getty Images.
Here we were thinking Matt Damon was just an Oscar-winning multi-hyphenate with a secure position in the pantheon of Hollywood’s finest. But he’s also a great P.R. man with a solid, if sometimes challenging, client list.
Over here, he’s practically breaking the news that friends George and Amal Clooney are expecting twins. Over there, he’s massaging Ben Affleck’s recent announcement that he completed a round of rehab for alcohol addiction. During the run up to the Oscars, he was there for Casey Affleck. The moral of the story is clear: It’s good to have a friend in Damon.
George Clooney Publicists don’t just push their client’s work; they understand the value of discussing personal lives—a “give the people what they want” strategy for getting the job done. When news broke that George and Amal had a couple of babies on the way, Damon was there to tell the world about it (and provide a rough time frame of the pregnancy for those to begin counting down). Amal was eight weeks along when they were filming Suburbicon this fall, per Damon.
Later he painted a cute picture of the burgeoning family to Entertainment Tonight, “He’s going to get prepared. He better figure it out, ‘cause they're on the way. But he’ll be great. He’ll be a mess, but [Amal] will take care of everything.”
Damon got to the work part of Clooney’s career, too, because he’s a publicist that can do both. He told the publication, “I’d do the phone book with George. He’s just a great, great director. He makes it a lot of fun, so hopefully he’ll have another gig for me.”
In the same interview, Damon gave updates on his friend, Ben Affleck, putting some positive topspin on a stint in rehab that could look bad for the actor. Affleck is doing “fantastic,” Damon said. “He’s with the kids now, couldn’t be happier. Jen’s working for a couple weeks in Atlanta, so he’s Mr. Mom-ing it right now. And that’s what he wants to be doing.”
Back in October, when Oscars press was revving up for Manchester by the Sea, there was Damon filling in holes on his friend and the star of the film Casey Affleck’s resume. “He didn’t work for a few years,” he said about the younger Affleck’s quiet career stagnation after starring in 2007’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. “In his defense, if you look at the movies he was offered, I don’t think he passed on anything he should have done. The period of him being hot lapsed.” Masterfully done.
Damon, who produced Manchester, told the film’s director Kenneth Lonergan (and repeated the story to Variety) that if he couldn’t play the lead, only Casey could. “I wasn’t interested in producing it for another actor, unless it was someone I grew up with and loved dearly,” he said. “I knew he would be able to do it in a way where I wouldn’t regret giving it to him. He’s one of the best actors I’ve ever met.”
Affleck later won the Oscar for best actor. Take notes P.R. professionals.
This story originally appeared on Vanity Fair.
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