One of Boston’s favorite sons, Matt Damon will be in town today, visiting his alma mater in Cambridge. The Academy award-winning actor is visiting Harvard University in order to receive the 2013 Harvard Arts Medal. Damon attended the school from 1988 to 1992, but never actually graduated, though he later went on to pen the movie that would eventually launch his career about a young man’s struggles to improve his education at a different famed Cambridge school, when he won the Oscar for Good Will Hunting.
The award will be presented by the Office for the Arts at Harvard and the Board of Overseers, and will feature a ceremony and a discussion on Damon’s life and career. The event will be hosted by fellow actor and Harvard alum John Lithgow of “3rd Rock from the Sun” fame.
The Harvard Arts Medal honors “a distinguished Harvard or Radcliffe graduate or faculty member who has achieved excellence in the arts and has made contribution through the arts to education or the public good.”
Today’s event also marks the official opening of Arts First, which will be an annual festival spotlighting students in the creative arts. The ceremony begins at 4 p.m. at Sanders Theatre on Quincy Street. A live stream of the day’s events will also be available for viewing online through the school’s website.
As 2012 draws to a close, it’s time to check-in on our favorite Beantown boys–Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Both leading men have a ton of projects lined up for the coming year, so let’s take a look at what they have in store.
Just a few weeks after the always pouty Kristen Stewart confirmed to the Huffington Post that she would be co-starring with Mr. Affleck in the upcoming Warner Brothers comedy, Focus, the actor-director dropped out of the project, citing scheduling conflicts. Affleck was set to play a con artist that falls for his younger protégé, played by Ms. Stewart. The names of a number of other qualified leading men have already been suggested, including Matt Damon, but there is no official word yet on who will replace him.
The star has also been questioned lately on his political involvement, with rumors bubbling up that a possible senate run is likely in his future. Affleck has downplayed the talk, saying that while he has much respect for the political process, his current plans do not include any campaigning, despite the fact that a special election for the senate will more than likely be held in the Bay State next year if John Kerry is confirmed as the new Secretary of State. Affleck dismissed hopes for a Senator Affleck in a Facebook post he made on his page on Christmas eve. He remains very involved in his Eastern Congo Initiative, the nonprofit he founded in 2010. Affleck testified before the federal House Armed Services Committee earlier this year in regards to ending the war in Congo.
Matt Damon, who recently made an appearance on the “Jay Leno Show,” where he recalled stories when he and Affleck were in college at Harvard and would take the train to New York City for auditions, has a number of movies slated for 2013. Elysium, The Zero Theorem, and Behind the Candelabra, co-starring Michael Douglas, are currently in post-production, and should be released throughout the coming year. He is also rumored to be the next George Clooney directed film, The Monuments Men, which is currently in pre-production. That film will co-star Cat Blanchett, Daniel Craig, George Clooney, and the ever elusive Bill Murray.
The Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Care Center’s gala at the Westin Waterfront hotel was held last night, and special guest Matt Damon was on hand to helm the festivities. Though the event featured a bevy of important people raising money for the Track at The One Hundred charity, Damon made a point of bringing up the fact that he was missing the Celtics game at the TD Garden.
Damon reportedly wore a Celtics jersey on the plane ride from New York City, and acknowledged his desire to get updates on the score for game 6 of the eastern conference NBA finals game between the Celtics and the Miami Heat, throughout the evening. The game was being played at the same time as the gala, not all that far from the hotel.
The gala is the ifth annual fundraiser honoring individuals and groups “whose diligence and discoveries, philanthropy and passion have helped advance the fight against cancer.”
Other attendees included actor Chris Cooper and Teresa Heinz and Senator John Kerry. Damon’s father, Kent, who was also in attendance, was treated by Mass General doctors in 2009 for multiple myeloma.
Damon just finished a project with Newton native John Krasinski called Promised Land. The film follows the story of a natural gas salesman who experiences life-changing events after moving to the small town location of his company’s next business endeavor.
Damon also expressed his fondness for the recently released Funny or Die video starring Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. In it, a clueless Dick’s Sporting Goods customer mistakes the Brady for the actor Cambridge bred Oscar winner.
It’s not unusual for celebrities to get involved in politics. Being a famous face can put you in a unique position to garner attention for important causes, shedding light on difficult issues, or perhaps using your platform to campaign for a candidate you believe. This happens to be the case for a number of Massachusetts celebrities campaigning on behalf of Elizabeth Warren, who just won the democratic nomination for this fall’s senatorial race against incumbent Scott Brown (R). Massachusetts natives like Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and John Krasinski have been holding fundraisers for the Harvard professor, including a recent one held in California.
The event was held at J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot production studio in Santa Monica on Monday, May 21st, and helped raise over $250,000 for the consumer advocate. J.J. Abrams is no stranger to strong women, or Massachusetts—he created the television shows “Alias” which starred Ben Affleck’s wife, Jennifer Garner, and “Fringe” which is set in Boston.
Attendees of the event included Garner, Reese Witherspoon, Zach Braff, Dana Delany, Tobey Maguire, Alan Horn, and Writers Guild president Chris Keyser. Unfortunately, due to a scheduling conflict, both Damon and Krasinski were filming on location and couldn’t attend the fundraiser. Other top contributors included the likes of directors Steven Spielberg, Rob Reiner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, actress Sally Field, Harvey Weinstein and Alan Ladd Jr.
It’s no secret that Boston is a great city for sports. With all 4 of our major league teams winning at least one championship in the past decade, many have taken to calling our Hub “Title Town”. As local sports fans become increasingly accustomed to attending championship parades, it’s natural to expect that many celebrities are jumping on the bandwagon.
Many of these stars long-time, hard-core, Boston sports fans, most of them with long-standing roots in the area. Brookline’s Conan O’Brien, Medford homegal Maria Menounos, and of course Ben Affleck, Matt Damon are all fans of all four of our championship winning teams. Any of them are likely to be spotted wearing their green at a Celtics game, grabbing a Fenway frank for a Sox game, chilling at a Bruins game, or kicking back at a Pats game.
Our most storied sports team, the Red Sox can claim many celebrities among their fans, including the likes of Jennifer Garner, Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Stephen King, Denis Leary, Kenny Chesney, Stephen Tyler, Arlington’s own Dane Cook, Neal McDonough (who hails from Hyannis), Seth Meyers, Amy Poehler, and Mark Wahlberg.
Up until June of last year, Bruins fans felt a bit left out of the Boston sports championship frenzy. Then, thanks to the first Stanley Cup in 29 years this past June, famous fans like Dropkick Murphys’ frontman Ken Casey, celeb chef Ming Tsai, “Superbad” star Chris Mintz-Plasse (you may remember him as McLovin), “The Office” star Mindy Kaling, Newton-bred actor/director Eli Roth, Dane Cook, Denis Leary, Jim Gaffigan, and former Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath, all suddenly had something serious to cheer about.
With their 2008 champhionship win, the Celtics brought the luck of the Irish back to Boston, harkening back to the days when the likes of Larry Bird helped us hoist multiple banners years after year in the Garden. These days, famous faces like Everett’s Ellen Pompeo, Gisele Bundchen, Watertown’s Eliza Dushku, Dane Cook, Steven Tyler, Mike O’Malley, Jay Leno, and Dorchester’s Donnie Wahlberg all were seeing green. Wahlberg in particular has definitely waited for his chance to celebrate with the team, supporting them by being spotted in the stands going all the way back to the mid-90s, long before Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Shaq ever put on their clover leaf apparel.
Famous Patriots fans are a little harder to find. It seems with all their championship successes, the team causes a lot of controversy, even amongst the most stalwart and staunch Boston sports supporters. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen, who of course is our famed quarterback, Tom Brady’s, wife, is at every game. Donnie’s brother Mark Wahlberg also roots for his Pats, as does writer Steven King, who originally hails from not to far off Maine. Aerosmith frontman and former Brighton resident, Steven Tyler not only sang the Star-Spangled Anthem at the AFC championship game, but showed his love for his home team by sporting the sparkliest Patriots scarf this side of Michael’s Craft Supply. With the Pats defeat of the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC championship, sending them to yet another Superbowl showdown, maybe we’ll see a few more famous faces pop up at the next game!
Water.org co-founder Matt Damon discusses the water crisis in Africa.
Two Boston powerhouses are teaming up for a new film and no, its not Matt and Ben. Those two old pals have already committed to joining forces for a movie about Boston mobster Whitey Bulger. More recently, Matt has seemingly found a new local boy to work with, Newton’s John Krasinski. Its been announced Damon and “The Office” actor wrote, and will star in a new legal drama, which Damon is slotted to direct.
Kransinski apparently came up with the film’s concept and developed it with Boston-born novelist and screenwriter Dave Eggers. When Kransinski approached Damon, the actor who has worked with directing greats Spielberg and Scorcese, jumped at the idea to join the project and direct.
The plot is being kept mostly under wraps, but its been revealed Damon will portray a salesman whose life is turned around after arriving in a small town. There is no word on whether that small town will be in New England either.
The film is described as being in the early stages and Damon and Krasinski are proving to be busy men in the meantime. Damon, whose film Contagion hit theaters just last month, is currently filming Elysium with Jodie Foster and recently signed on to play Liberace in an upcoming Steven Soderbergh biopic. Krasinski, who continues to star in NBC’s “The Office,” just completed shooting two films to be released in 2012.
Warner Bros. created a unique promotional “natural bacteria” display for Damon’s new thriller, Contagion.
Six years and two lawsuits later, the Matt Damon film, Margaret, is finally set to hit theaters at the end of the month. Director and reported perfectionist, Kenneth Lonergan has refused to release the film until now, insisting it needed further edits and spurring multiple legal disputes.
The film began shooting in September, 2005 and also stars Anna Paquin, Mark Rufallo and Allison Janney. The story centers on a New York City high schooler (a pre-”True Blood” Paquin) who witnesses a fatal bus accident. Damon plays the teen’s teacher, who becomes the object of her inappropriate affection.
The trouble with Margaret began in the film’s post production. Lonergan is granted the final say with films he directs, even though Margaret is only his second film (the first film he directed was 2000′s You Can Count On Me). He struggled to complete the film to his satisfaction, refusing aide and input from other professionals and required more money to finish the movie. Fox Searchlight refused to put anymore money towards the film and producer Gary Gilbert began to fund Lonergran’s post production. Lonergan reportedly borrowed over $1 million from friend Matthew Broderick, who has a small role in the film, in order to continue production.
In 2008, Fox Searchlight filed a lawsuit against Gilbert and his company, Camelot Films, claiming they did not pay all the necesary production costs for Margaret. Gilbert struck back with another suit, two months later, against Fox Searchlight and Lonergan, saying he was forced to put up extra funds due to Lonergan’s refusals to finish the film, claiming the director evaded efforts to complete production.
The lawsuits temporarily halted further production on Margaret, but this July, Fox Searchlight announced Lonergan had completed the film. Margaret will officially hit theaters on September 30, six years after filming began. Matt Damon has said he will attend the film’s premiere.
We know the native is wicked smart but bourne to run for U.S President in 2012? Fahrenheit 911 Director Michael Moore thinks so, and publicly “endorses” Damon virtually on FireDogLake.com.
“I think that he’s been very courageous and not caring about who he offends by coming out and saying the things that need to be said here,” says Moore.
“If you wanna win, the Republicans have certainly shown the way that when you run someone who is popular you win sometimes even when you run an actor, you win. I only throw his name out there because I’d like us to start thinking that way…” he continues.
And you know what? The odds that Damon could become the next president of the U.S are 100-to-1 according to Ireland’s largest bookmaker Paddy Power.
Paddy Power operates licensed betting outlets throughout Ireland and the UK and decided to include the Boston actor in its odds after he received “a glittering endorsement for the role from fellow Hollywood star Michael Moore,” according to a company press release.
How do like them apples? Not too shabby for the Cambridge-raised boy, who like Barack Obama, was educated at Harvard. In 2008, Damon was one of Obama’s most highest profile supporters and now possibly his 2012 Democratic running mate.
Damon has been spotted 100 years in the future looking ever so aliented with a sexy shaved head in Elysium but he will be back to earth in Contagion September 9th with the stunning Gwyneth Paltrow.
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