Matt Damon Explains Why Writing Good Will Hunting With Ben Affleck Was ‘Inefficient’ Compared To Working On Their New Movie

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in Good Will Hunting

It’s hard to imagine some of the more iconic and everlasting films of the past being anything but the masterpieces that they are, but some get pretty rough behind the scenes, even if issues don't translate to the big screen. That was seemingly the case for Good Will Hunting, because while it is a movie full of quotable lines and big Hollywood names, star and writer Matt Damon says writing the script with Ben Affleck was pretty “inefficient.” Thankfully, the acting and writing duo has grown immensely in the last 25 years and they haven’t had the same issue writing their new movie, The Last Duel, together.

Good Will Hunting is just a plain impressive movie, but it is even more so when you consider that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were pretty young and inexperienced. When the pair wrote the film, they had only appeared in a few projects prior, and they usually appeared together. Being so new and handling such a daunting task, the two apparently put out a massive quantity of pages for the screenplay, resulting in a pretty inefficient movie-making process. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Damon explains just how many scenes were actually written for the film and how unnecessary it was:

I think that writing process for Good Will Hunting was so inefficient. You know, because we didn't really understand structure so we wrote thousands of pages. ... We'd be like, 'Well, what if this happened?,' and then we'd just write different scenes. So, we had all these kind of disparate scenes and then we kind of tried to jam them together into something that looked like a movie.

It seems like it’s been a lifetime since the creation of the iconic Good Will Hunting, and the two friends have certainly lived lives of which most can only dream. The film basically launched their careers, and both actors have been in their fair share of major films and franchises, individually winning many awards during their career – including the Oscar they share for writing Good Will Hunting. In the same interview, Matt Damon describes just how far they have come and states writing another film with Ben Affleck has been a completely different experience creatively. Said Damon,

But this time around, you know, it's a story about perspective. So, there are two knights and then there's the Lady Marguerite. So Ben and I wrote the male perspectives and Nicole Holofcener wrote the female perspective. That's kind of the architecture of that movie. And I think we just found that having made ... like, making movies for 30 years, we actually learned something about structure along the way and the process went along a lot faster. And so I think we'll write a lot more in the future just because it didn't turn out to be as time consuming as we thought. It was actually a lot of fun.

Of course, Matt Damon isn’t saying Good Will Hunting wasn’t fun to write, because I would bet the two besties had a blast. However, there seems to be a different kind of fun to be had when working on a creative project while knowing exactly what needs to be done, even if it is something totally new.

The Last Duel is set to be released on October 15 and will star both Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. There’s some major Good Will Hunting nostalgia there, but we’ll have to wait and see whether the upcoming film is as Oscar worthy for the pair as their first writing/acting project even though it was apparently easier to put on paper for the two.

Carlie Hoke
Content Writer

Constantly thinking about books, coffee, and the existential dread I feel from Bo Burnham’s Inside.  While writing I’m also raising a chaotic toddler, who may or may not have picked up personality traits from watching one too many episodes of Trailer Park Boys.