Hollywood heartthrob Matt Damon is leading the charge against a horde of monsters in the epic action movie “The Great Wall”.
With a reported budget of $150 million, “The Great Wall” is not only the most expensive movie to ever be entirely filmed in China, but the biggest budgeted movie of Damon’s career.
“The pressure’s off a little bit,” Damon tells ET Canada’s Matte Babel, revealing the movie has already raked in nearly $220 million overseas ahead of its Canadian opening on Friday, Feb. 17. “I realize it made $220 million bucks. I think that’s what ‘Good Will Hunting’ [made] in its entire thing,” he says, laughing.
Despite appearing as Jason Bourne in four action movies, the budget for Damon’s espionage franchise was modest compared to the money behind his latest film. Even Damon’s outer space drama “The Martian” topped out at a reported $108 million budget.
“I don’t normally play in his arena”, he says of big budget movies. “My movies are a lot smaller. It’s nerve-wracking. The ‘Jason Bourne’ movies are big, but they’ve gotten bigger as they’ve gotten successful, so you’re kind of hedged a little bit. This is just knee-shaking stuff.”
Luckily for Damon, friend Ben Affleck is no stranger to big budget epics. The “Batman Vs. Superman” star offered pal Damon some advice over top-lining a large-scale project like “The Great Wall”.
“I talked to Ben about it because he’s in that stratospheric Batman world where the budget’s twice what this is. And I’m nervous about this! It’s not for the faint of heart,” he says.
Even though “The Great Wall” is a fantasy action epic, the message at the heart of the story is one of values and morals. Those qualities are something Damon’s father passed onto him, and now as a dad to four daughters, they’re something he tries to instill in his own children.
One of those values from the film he aims to impart is, “not to be a thief and a liar,” he says, jokingly.
“You want your kids to have as much self-esteem as possible so that they make good decisions because you can’t be there for every decision. You’re just never going to be able to police decisions so you’ve got to try to fill them with enough wisdom and self-regard to make good choices,” he explains. “You want them to have integrity. I want them to be good friends to other people. I want them to be reliable and loyal, good and kind.”
Following “The Great Wall”, Damon has turned his attention to the all-female “Ocean’s Eight” crime caper. After appearing in all three “Ocean’s” movies, he’s set to make a cameo appearance in the female ensemble film, currently filming in New York City. Faced with a cast of powerhouse actresses that include Cate Blanchett and Anne Hathaway, Damon tries his hand at giving one of the new “Ocean”‘s recruits a nickname.
“For Cate, I would just put ‘The Legend’. Because she is,” he says of Blanchett, whom he first worked with in 1999’s “The Talented Mr. Ripley”. “She’s like a living legend already and she’s still young, but I started working with her almost 20 years ago and she’s just awesome,” he adds.