Back from the dead

Contrary to news circulating on the internet, Matt Damon is not dead.

Contrary to news circulating on the internet, Matt Damon is not dead. He’s very much alive and was laughing about the ridiculous rumour at a TIFF press conference.

“I don’t know why that happens. That’s a really reckless thing to do. I had to call my parents and everything,” said the actor. “I got forwarded the story and when you read it, it just gets sillier and sillier.

“By the end the guy who is supposed to be my agent is quoting the lyrics from the Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. And yet my publicist got all these phone calls from very reputable sources. CNN called, the Boston Globe called. It was crazy.”

Fortunately the living Damon was able to visit Toronto to promote The Informant, a new collaboration with director Steven Soderbergh in which the actor plays a bi-polar executive whistle-blower who awkwardly goes undercover for the FBI.

It’s one of the actor’s finest performances and one that he gained 30 pounds for a la Robert DeNiro in Raging Bull.

“I sent (Steven Soderbergh) an email about two months before we were going to make it asking, ‘What do you want this guy to look like physically?’ He just wrote back ‘doughy,’” revealed Damon. “The rational was that Steven didn’t want any hard edges on the character. He wanted him undefined as a metaphor for his personality. Of course, I only found out when I got there. I didn’t question it. I just started eating,” joked the actor.

Matt Damon relished his physical change for the film, “It felt fantastic. I just ate whatever I wanted and thought about nothing but the screenplay and the other actors,” said Damon. “It was really nice to not think about anything else, compared to a Jason Bourne movie where I come home from work and have to go straight to the gym. It takes too much time away from my family. I just prefer to eat.”

The physical change pays off dividends in an almost chameleon-like performance from Damon. The actor’s strong work is the centerpiece of a movie that Damon revealed he and Soderbergh had been toying with for years. “Scott Burns wrote it seven years ago and we’ve been sitting on it. We would refer back to it once or twice a year and we’d examined it enough to know that all the answers we needed were in the actual text when we started shooting. It was almost like doing a play.”

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