THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY
In 1998, MATT DAMON (Tom Ripley) won an Academy AwardÒ
for Best Original Screenplay with longtime friend Ben Affleck for the critically acclaimed drama "Good Will Hunting," a coming-of-age story about a young mathematical genius who, due to his upbringing in inner-city Boston, can't live up to his potential. Damon also earned an Academy Award™ nomination for Best Actor for his work in the title role. In addition, both he and Affleck received a Golden Globe® Award for their screenplay, and Damon garnered a Golden Globe® nomination for his performance. The film, directed by Gus Van Sant, received seven additional Oscar® nominations, including one for Best Picture and a win for Robin Williams for Best Supporting Actor.
That same year audiences saw Damon star in the title roll of the World War II drama "Saving Private Ryan" for Academy Award-winning Steven Spielberg and in John Dahl's "Rounders" about a reformed gambler who is drawn back into New York's underground poker world to help a recently paroled friend payoff loan sharks.
In 1997,Damon made a cameo appearance in Kevin Smith's "Chasing Amy." In the same year, he starred as an idealistic young attorney in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Rainmaker," based on the best-selling novel by John Grisham.
Damon first gained the public's eye in 1996 when he gave a vivid performance in "Courage Under Fire," in which he portrayed a guilt-ridden Persian Gulf War soldier tormented by an incident which happened in the heat of battle.
The versatile young actor made his feature film debut in 1988 in a small role in the critically well-received "Mystic Pizza." He went on to play Brian Dennehy's medical school dropout in the TV movie "Rising Son" (TNT, 1990) and gained further attention when he returned to the big screen as a fascist preppy in Paramount's "School Ties" (1992).
For director Walter Hill, Damon enjoyed a sizeable supporting role as the green second lieutenant new to the West who narrates "Geronimo: An American Legend" (1993). In 1995, he appeared in "The Good Old Boys," directed by Tommy Lee Jones for TNT. Set in turn of the century Texas, Damon portrayed a forward-thinking and mechanically inclined young man who leaves his family behind to follow his heart and pursue his passion for automobiles.
In 1998, Damon and Affleck partnered with "Good Will Hunting" associate producer and longtime friend Chris Moore to form Pearl Street Productions. The same year, they also signed a multi-year, first-look agreement to develop and produce projects with Harvey and Bob Weinstein's Miramax Films.Their first project, is "The Third Wheel," starring Denise Richards, Luke Wilson and Jay Lacopo which Damon and Affleck will executive produce as well as appear in cameo roles.
Currently Damon is on location in Georgia shooting "The Legend of Baggar Vance." The film, directed by Robert Redford, also stars Will Smith. Damon and pal Ben Affleck also rejoined "Chasing Amy" director Kevin Smith in "Dogma," a film about a pair of outcast angels.
Damon, who attended Harvard University, first gained acting experience at the American Repertory Theatre as well as other Boston-based theatre venues.
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