An Interview With Matt Damon Of "School Ties" MAG

By Unknown, Unknown, Unknown

   Over the summer, I was asked to write a review for an upcoming film called "School Ties." I was quite surprised; the shock slowly formed into anxiety when I learned that I would also be interviewing one of the stars of the film. The closest I'd ever been to an actor was watching them perform on the screen. Now I would actually have the opportunity to carry on a conversation with one.

On the day that I received the call (I still wasn't sure which actor I would be speaking to), my apprehension had reached its peak. What if I offended him in some way? What if he was a rude, obnoxious person? What if he didn't call at all?

But when the phone finally rang, my uneasy thoughts were immediately erased. Matt Damon was the complete opposite of every star-stereotype: warm, friendly, and open. He and I seemed as if we had known each other for a long time.

Damon, who currently attends Harvard, began acting in local community theatre productions as a teen. Soon after, he landed a spot in a T.J. Maxx commercial, which led to the 1990 made-for-television film "Rising Son," starring Brian Dennehy and Piper Laurie.

The plot of "School Ties" concerns a still-growing problem of society: anti-Semitism. David Greene (Brendan Fraser) is the new star football player at St. Matthew's School and secretly hides his Jewish religion from his new pals. Damon plays Dillon, a decent kid privately resenting David's new-found popularity. When Greene's identity is revealed, Dillon turns on him completely. "The part was interesting because of the complexity of the role," mentioned Damon. "Until the conclusion of the film, you really can't figure out if he's good or bad."

When asked about the subject matter of the film, the actor turned serious. "It's really hard to get a movie like this done in Hollywood. But with hate crimes on the rise, it is still relevant today." Damon and the rest of the young cast got along great; he and Fraser have become good friends.

Although the film has gotten excellent reviews (the acting, in particular, has been praised), Damon honestly said that a negative review on his performance would hurt. But then he paused, and I could almost see him smiling on the other end of the line. "I guess I've adopted my own little motto: " he said, "AWhatever doesn't kill me, will only make me stronger.'" n

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