Matt Damon is regarded as one of the most talented actors right now in Hollywood. He got his breakthrough at a relative early age after which he went on to act in several high-profile films. The now 43 year old actor never hesitates to experiment with roles. He is also a childhood friend of the actor and director Ben Affleck.
Matt Damon made his movie debut in 1988 through the film Mystic Pizza, but his role was insignificant with just one dialogue. While pursuing his education at Harvard, he played some more minor roles. In 1992 until he was cast in a significant role in Geronimo: An American Legend beside Gene Hackman. The 1996 film Courage Under Fire, for which Damon lost 40 pounds in a mere hundred days, won him critical acclaim and showed the film industry what a committed actor he was.
Damon, together with Ben Affleck, penned a screenplay which later became the film Good Will Hunting. It won them an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, while Matt was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. His breakthrough in film was made.
In 1997, Damon acted in The Rainmaker directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based on a John Grisham novel. Both the film and Damon’s performance were praised. In the following year, Damon showed complete maturity as an actor in Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan. Though he was not the lead actor, he delivered a strong performance. He fluidly portrayed the role of Ryan, a soldier who refuses to go home when given a chance and still continues fighting in the Second World War after learning about the deaths of all four of his brothers.
In 1998, Damon alongside Edward Norton portrayed two poker players in Rounders. The movie is considered as one of the best of many movies relating to the game of poker.
Damon surprised the audience in 1999 with an anti-hero role in The Talented Mr. Ripley, a remake of the French film Purple Noon (Plein Soleil, 1960). He played Tom Ripley, a ruthless young man that commits a series of murders and lives on someone else’s identity. The film could compete with the original and Damon’s role earned him a nomination for a Golden Globe Award.
Matt tried his hand at romantic drama films in 2000 by acting in The Legend of Bagger Vance and All the Pretty Horses, but both the movies got neither commercial success nor critical acclaim.
Into the high-profile stream
Between 2001 and 2007, Damon acted in two highly successful film trilogies. The first one, the Ocean's trilogy, was a smash hit at the box office; it had Damon as part of an ensemble cast that included many high-profile actors. In the Bourne trilogy, he played Jason Bourne, an ex-CIA agent who tries to trace his identity after a bullet injury causes amnesia. Matt Damon did prove he could count as an action hero as well.
In 2005, Damon landed a good role in the political thriller Syriania, a loose adaption of the novel See No Evil. His 2006 spy film, The Good Shepherd, garnered only average reviews despite having a solid cast that included Robert De Niro and Angelina Jolie. In the same year, his other film, The Brothers Grimm, failed at the box office. But, The Departed (2006) brought him the commercial success that had been eluding him.
The year 2009 saw him acting in two high-profile films - The Informant! and Invictus. The former had Damon in the leading role as an FBI informant in a firm who ends up in jail owing to his over-smartness. The latter was directed by Clint Eastwood and was based on the true story of Nelson Mandela inspiring his country’s rugby team to win the World Cup in 1995.
Damon's Green Zone (2010) failed to impress the audience, but in the same year, he delivered a smashing performance in True Grit directed by the Coen Brothers. The following year, The Adjustment Bureau got him good recognition. He played a Congressman that fights everything in his way to meet the woman he briefly encountered and fell in love with. Later in 2011, Damon portrayed a refreshing role in We Bought a Zoo; his character was that of man who just lost his wife and wants to move, along with his two kids, to a new place to forget her memories. After some search, he decides to buy an abandoned zoo and reopen it for public. Promised Land released next year had an interesting focus on hydraulic fracturing and Damon’s character Steve experience scruples due to his part in an energy company.
In 2013, he acted in Steven Sodenbergh’s film based on the final years in the life of the pianist Liberace. He won acclaim for his role as Scott Thorson, Liberace’s homosexual lover. Later that year, in the post-apocalyptic movie Elysium, he played Max Da Costa, a leukemia patient that fights his way to get medical treatment in earth’s space station named Elysium.
Damon began 2014 with Monuments Men, but the movie was a modest success. His upcoming film, Interstellar, directed by the highly acclaimed director Christopher Nolan, is set to hit theaters on November 7, 2014.
Apart from being a spectacular actor, Matt Damon is actively participates in philanthropic activities by charity organizations like Water.org, ONE campaign and H2O Foundation Africa.