Matt Damon had been looking for a film to direct, and he thought he’d found it in “Promised Land,” co-written with actor John Krasinski. As the start of production approached, Damon had to give up the reins at the last minute due to scheduling for “Elysium,” a film in which he’s starring.
Matt Damon kids around about this fact:
“I like to say that my biggest contribution to this film as producer was firing myself as director.”
Though he handed the director’s chair over to longtime collaborator Gus Van Sant, Damon is still the star of “Promised Land,” and its co-writer. Krasinski recalls:
“I thought the movie was dead. But when Matt bailed, Gus signed on. Focus Features stepped up when Gus stepped in and we got it all back within 12 hours.”
When Damon had to bow out as director, Warner Bros. put it into turnaround, says the New York Daily News.
“Matt helped write it. I read it quickly and I liked it a lot, because it had his style and he was going to play the lead. It happened really fast.”
Krasinski met Damon when Damon was starring in “The Adjustment Bureau” with Krasinski’s wife, Emily Blunt. When Damon felt the itch to direct, Krasinski told him his idea, and the two started collaborating after Krasinski developed the story with help from writer Dave Eggers, according to Press And Guide.
“Writing with John was a lot like working with Ben [Affleck]. The process was similar, with us acting things out as the characters as we wrote. It brought back a lot of memories.”
The film has already come under fire as another political agenda, and that really doesn’t matter to Damon:
“The energy industry will have its surrogates come after the film, and label it ‘the fracking movie.’ I see it as a pro-democracy film. We wanted to end with a feeling of a community that’s engaged with one of the biggest decisions of the day — if we explore where the community is coming from and we end with where it’s going.”