The incredible acting and comedic talent the late Robin Williams carried was known to millions around the world. The influence Williams had on his fellow actors, like Matt Damon, continues to have a positive effect. In a recent interview, Damon credits Williams for playing a very influential role in his life and acting career, twice.
Robin Williams And Matt Damon’s Relationship
Although Good Will Hunting came out over 20 years ago, Damon still has vivid recollections of valuable lessons from Williams while the two worked on set. “I just have so many memories of that guy,” Damon recollects in his latest interview with GQ. One aspect of Williams’ acting style that Damon admired (and still admires) was his ability to improvise lines effortlessly while filming.
For example, the very last line spoken by Williams’ character in Good Will Hunting was entirely improvised. To this day, Damon still can’t believe how Williams came up with such a perfect line to end the film. As he remembers the moment Williams coined that famous line, “Son of a bitch – he stole my line” Damon smiles and recalls how it “wasn’t scripted, Robin just did that.” “He was a guy who could come in and just throw lines out,” Damon says of Williams.
Only Good Memories Of Robin Williams
In the GQ interview, Damon looks back on all his past acting roles. But when he describes his time working on Good Will Hunting alongside Robin Williams, there’s just a bit more enthusiasm in his voice. Damon recalls the lengthy process he and Ben Affleck went through to turn their Good Will Hunting script into a movie. With that, Damon reveals that the moment Williams signed on to the project was the moment the movie really got off the ground. Attaching a huge star like Williams allowed them to get the funding they needed to make the now-classic film.
From there, Damon only had good things to say about Williams. Whether it be his natural ability to light up a room or his versatile talents, Damon couldn’t say enough about the positive influence Williams had on him. When Damon remembers working with Williams on Good Will Hunting, he describes him as someone who “couldn’t have been more gracious or more hardworking.” He then goes on to say that Williams had a “beautiful brain” and that “he changed our lives.”
It was working on Good Will Hunting that Williams made another move that would help propel Damon into superstardom. While rehearsing the movie in Boston, it also happened that Steven Spielberg was in town shooting Amistad. As Damon recalls, he had auditioned for a role in what would be Spielberg’s next movie, Saving Private Ryan but he hadn’t gotten a callback.
In steps Robin Williams, who took Damon over to the Amistad set to introduce him to the legendary director. “I got that part, going back to Robin Williams,” Damon explains, adding, “Robin took Ben (Affleck) and me to meet Steven.” While on set, Spielberg recognized Damon from an early role in Courage Under Fire but thought from the role that Damon was too skinny to play the role of Private Ryan.
Damon had lost 40 pounds for his role as a heroin addict in Courage Under Fire, and, as Damon says “It was only because Robin introduced me to him that he went, ‘oh, ok, you’re the kind of guy I’m looking for that job. So Robin not only got our dream in Good Will Hunting made, he actually got me the role in Saving Private Ryan.” The rest, as they say, is history.