Matt Damon talks ‘Elysium,’ getting buff and immigration

"Elysium" - Los Angeles Photo Call

When Matt Damon saw himself on-screen in “Elysium” — after months of dieting and four-hour gym sessions to get him into sci-fi action hero shape — all he could do was laugh.

“It just looked ridiculous to me,” he says. “It’s so indulgent, but it’s part of the magic trick. I understood why [director Neill Blomkamp] needed me to look like that to establish the character. He didn’t want any fat on me because he said, ‘I want you to look almost Haitian, like you’re incredibly fit, but you’ve been working so hard and perhaps you’ve missed some meals.’”

While it worked for the film, Damon was happy to let the workout regimen lapse.

“It’s just not a natural way for somebody to look. These people who look that way are either genetic freaks or they’re just living in a gym,” he says.

“[My wife] was fine with me buff, but she was fine with me [40 pounds overweight] on ‘The Informant!’ I think she likes variety.”

While he might not find it easy to relate to the look of his character, Max — an ex-con factory worker taking on the rich and powerful on their satellite sanctuary, Elysium, orbiting the ravaged slum Earth has become — he can at least understand him emotionally and intellectually. “He’s doing the best he can in a world that’s getting increasingly difficult to live in,” Damon says.

“A lot of people can relate to that in this prolonged economic downturn, where it feels like the world keeps putting its boot on your neck a little more forcefully every day.”

Speaking of the current state of the world, Damon has never been one to shy away from addressing political issues, and “Elysium” offers him a great chance to talk immigration — one of the major themes in the film.

“Look, it’s a nation of immigrants and I’m from a family of immigrants, so yeah, clearly they’re going to have to figure that one out,” he says.

“But the politicians don’t talk about it at all. They just see it as an issue where with the polling on it, they’re just confused on which way to go. So the Republicans just send out Marco Rubio to speak Spanish to everybody.”

Not to suggest, though, that Damon thinks he has all the answers: “I don’t have a comprehensive immigration plan, no,” he says. “But I can work on it.”

 

How the other half lives
As for relating to the have-nots, like his character in the film? “F— them,” Damon offers, with a laugh. “No, at least in my case, I think the values that I have are consistent with the values I was raised with. I vote against my own self-interests constantly. If you’re born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you’re probably more likely to be the Koch brothers and think that you shouldn’t pay taxes on things.”

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Chestnut Hill College student found dead Wednesday morning

A 22-year-0ld Chestnut Hill College student was found dead this morning inside a college dormitory, police said.

International

Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

D.A. Williams opens new unit to focus exclusively…

D.A. Seth Williams announced Tuesday that he has opened a new unit focused entirely on investigating wrongful conviction claims.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 16: 'The Americans,'…

'The Americans' Philip and Elizabeth face "painful turns" in their missions. Maybe next week they'll have a nice easy mission with no moral ambiguity? Probably…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Here's what to do in Philly this weekend

FILM 'Through a Lens Darkly'  Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m. Philadelphia Photo Arts Center 1400 N. American St. Free, RSVP required, 215-232-5678 www.philaphotoarts.org Join Philadelphia…

Arts

Peek behind the scenes at the Academy of…

Generations of visitors have marveled at the dioramas in the Academy of Natural Sciences, watching apprehensively at the puma perpetually poised to attack the unsuspecting…

NHL

Top 5 Philadelphia storylines for Flyers-Rangers

The slate is clean for the Flyers and the Rangers. Which is good news for the Flyers.

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

NBA

Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.

Wellbeing

Could a facelift give you the edge at…

It's not just women lining up for procedures.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.