Matt Damon Shares Great Story About Clint Eastwood’s Legendary Love For Filming Only One Take For Scenes In His Movies

Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar in Invictus
(Image credit: (Warner Bros))

Matt Damon has worked with an incredible amount of great directors throughout his career, between Ridley Scott, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Steven Soderbergh. He must have a ton of amazing stories in his back pocket for movie geeks like us to fall head over heels for. As the actor currently stars in his latest film, Stillwater, he shared a great story about his time working with Clint Eastwood on 2009’s Invictus.

As an acclaimed director along with his acting work, the 91-year-old has built up a reputation for using the first or second take of a scene he shoots in the final product. As you can imagine, that’s not necessarily the easiest rule for an actor to follow. Matt Damon shared how Clint Eastwood’s one-take reputation affected his own performance:

Well, it was a little terrifying because I was playing a South African and that’s a really hard accent to do. If you think about what our tongue does in an American accent, it’s like the polar opposite in a South African accent, so it’s like if you say, ‘I’ll be right back’ and think about what your tongue does, they’ll say [the opposite]. And it’s like, ‘What the fuck just happened, right?’ It’s something that just required a lot of practice and I treated it like a job. I tested that theory [that Clint Eastwood likes one take] on Day 1 of shooting. We did the first take. It went pretty well. Clint says, ‘cut, print, check the gate,’ which means we’re gonna move on. And I said, ‘Hey boss, maybe you think we could get one more.’ He just turned and goes, ‘Why? Do you want to waste everybody’s time?’

It’s kind of an insane method when you think about it and would require a lot of preparation outside of set to bring one’s A-game. But hey, we can't argue with the results. As a director, five of Clint Eastwood’s movies have been in the running for Best Picture, with two taking home the award (Unforgiven in 1992 and Million Dollar Baby in 2004). Matt Damon continued to share his experience:

I was like OK we’re done. Good let’s move on. So I’m glad I put all that work in because I’m pretty sure I never got more than one take ever.

Matt Damon told the story while on an episode of Hot Ones, the place on YouTube where celebrities answer questions while eating increasingly spicier wings. You can check out the full episode below:

Invictus would later earn Matt Damon his second of three Oscar nominations, this time for Best Supporting Actor. However, Christoph Waltz took home the Academy Award in 2010 for his performance in Inglourious Basterds, with Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci and Christopher Plummer also being up for the award. The movie followed Morgan Freeman’s Nelson Mandela as he joined forces with South Africa’s rugby team to help unite his country.

Matt Damon has had a busy 2021 thus far with No Sudden Move, his latest collaboration with Steven Soderbergh, along with Stillwater, a drama that has Damon playing a father who goes to great lengths to help his estranged daughter. The actor will also star in The Last Duel with Ben Affleck and Jodie Comer from a script he wrote with Affleck, his Good Will Hunting partner. The Last Duel comes to theaters on October 15. Check out what other upcoming films are coming this year with CinemaBlend’s 2021 release schedule.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.