You rarely hear about the busy fathers who struggle to balance work and home life. It's usually the showbiz moms — like Jessica Simpson — who talk about missing their kids and feeling guilty about work.
Matt Damon and his wife, Luciana, have four children. He and John Krasinski co-wrote the new film Promised Land, and Matt was originally supposed to direct. Right before he was supposed to do pre-production, he made some calls and said he couldn't do it, so Gus Van Sant had to step in.
As Matt explained to Collider.com, "Well, Gus is, without question, a better director than me. I decided that I wasn’t going to direct it on December 15th of last year. That was my last day of work. The Neill Blomkamp movie [Elysium] that I was on went over. I had been away from my kids, and then I got back and had to do a really intense week or two of press for We Bought A Zoo. On December 15th, my last thing was The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and I finished it and got home and my year was over. I looked at the calendar and realized that, to get the movie out this year, I had to go into pre-production on January 2nd. I just couldn’t leave the kids again. So, I had to call John, which was horrible."
Krasinski wasn't happy about it, plus, Warner Bros. had given them the money because Matt had a deal there. "But, I knew the second I told them that I wasn’t going to direct it, they were going to bail, which they did," Matt said. "They very politely said, 'You’re really the reason we were backing it. This isn’t really what we do.' And so, I lost us a director and our money, but it was the right decision and I said that to John. I said, 'I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I know this is the right decision. Our script is good, and there’s going to be a great director. I know there will be someone who wants to do it. Look at the script. You know it’s good.' And he was like, 'Whatever, man!'”
Warning: This next part has strong language and an Alec Baldwin reference!
“And then, the next morning, I was leaving to go to Florida with my family and I was sitting on the plane, feeling horrible. I emailed Gus and told him everything that had happened, and he emailed me back, right before we had to switch our phones off. He said, 'I love your writing. I’d love to read it.' At that point, it was what they officially call the Alec Baldwin moment. The flight attendant was like, ‘Turn that fucking thing off, or I’m going to come and take it from you!’ So, I forwarded it to Gus from my BlackBerry, as fast as I could, and then switched it off."
See what happens when you choose family over work? Chaos! (Kidding.) It all turned out well in the end, and Promised Land is now playing across the U.S. And Matt’s family probably appreciated the extra time with him.