If Damon has made it his mission to telegraph a boring vibe to the public, he’s succeeded. The last time he had a real tabloid moment was almost a decade ago, when Minnie Driver suggested she’d learned of being dumped by him when he declared he was single on Oprah, and even that tale proved to be a dud when Driver eventually copped to having been broken up with fair and square (see? No one hates him). Did you know that Damon lives in Miami Beach, where he moved to be with his wife of one year, an Argentine-born former bartender named Luciana Bozan? Does it even ring a bell that the couple has a 6-month-old daughter named Isabella? If not, that might be because Damon is stubborn enough to stay indoors for weekends at a time if he spies the South Florida paparazzi roosting at his gate. But it also might be because he can come off as so goddamn wonky and earnestan Al Gore in a town full of Clintonsthat you just don’t care all that much. It’s not like at any moment he might be caught with his pants down in Paris Hilton’s bedroom. Or get in a bar brawl with Colin Farrell. There’s not even any indication that he has a desire to be a celebrity at all. Doesn’t he want our attention? “I’d heard people say, ‘You’ll enjoy being famous for a week, and you’ll never enjoy it again,’” he says. “I don’t even feel like I had that week. I was so busy working that I didn’t even get to notice that moment.”
If your impression of Matt Damon is now officially that he’s at best a dull boy and at worst an effete artiste with a bust of Stanislavski jammed up his ass, that’s not fair. He is, for lack of a more titillating description, very nice. There are enough heartwarming tales of Damon lugging his own bags into hotels, insisting on sitting in front with the guy chauffeuring him around, and feeding mangy dogs on the beach that they can’t possibly be chalked up to image management. When Damon learned that one of the horse trainers on The Brothers Grimm intended to take a 13-hour bus trip to get from Prague to Paris, he bought her a first-class plane ticket. George Clooney recalls the time Damon phoned his Italian bodyguard from Ocean’s Twelvetwo years after wrappingto see if there was anything he could do when he heard the man had been in a serious car wreck. “He’s just that guy,” Clooney says. Plus, he has no problem sharing entrées with a stranger (even a stranger with a recording device). He’ll gamely knock back a couple of Peronis and do his scarily dead-on impression of Matthew McConaughey for you. He’ll even tell you to call him up if you’re ever in Miami. He just won’t show you even a flicker of vulnerability. Tighter is the word Hunting coproducer Chris Moore uses to describe his manner.