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Matt Damon says bizarre meeting with Hugh Grant in the 1990s made him wary of typecasting

Actor recalled him and Ben Affleck being asked to write a project for Grant

Adam White
Wednesday 28 July 2021 17:45 BST
Stillwater trailer

Matt Damon has recalled a bizarre meeting with Hugh Grant in the Nineties that made him wary of typecasting.

The actor and his occasional writing partner Ben Affleck met with Grant shortly before the release of Good Will Hunting in 1997, after being asked to create a possible project for Grant to star in. In a new interview, Damon said the meeting left an unexpected impression on him.

“[Grant] had these ideas,” Damon told The New York Times, “and he was explaining them like, ‘Then smoothie Hugh comes in and saves the day.’ He kept referring to himself as ‘smoothie Hugh’, like he was completely over it.”

Damon continued: “That system was making him be this thing — and he was great at it, and he has shown he’s more — but that wasn’t all he was.”

As a result of the meeting, Damon became convinced that he would not allow Hollywood to typecast him or allow fame to overpower his actual work.

Approached for comment, Grant joked that Damon and Affleck “still owe me a screenplay,” adding: “I’ve been waiting 25 years for it.”

Matt Damon and Hugh Grant (Theo Wargo/Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Grant has spoken often about the toll typecasting took on him during the Nineties and early Noughties. While he has recently appeared in dramatic roles including The Undoing and A Very English Scandal, he was formerly exclusively seen as a romantic lead.

“It’s been such a relief to not have to be the charming leading man,” he said earlier this year. “I’m grateful... but it has been a relief now that I’m allowed to be twisted, ugly, weird, misshapen.”

Damon, meanwhile, this week confessed he is nervous that his new film Stillwater is being mismarketed as “a Liam Neeson movie”. The film revolves around an American father who travels to France after his teenage daughter is arrested for murder.

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