Movies

Matt Damon Is Fine With ‘Team America: World Police’ Because At Least It Had Him Against The War

Back in 2014, Matt Damon hosted an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit and he continued to prove that he’s one of the folksiest, most normal dudes in Hollywood. “A man of the people,” they might say (they definitely say it), and he did his best to answer everyone’s questions. One question that caught our attention dealt with the actor’s portrayal in the 2004 film Team America: World Police, as a fan wanted to know what he thought of his puppet saying, “MAAAAAAATT DAAAAAMON.” Damon claimed he thought the film was “brilliant,” but he also “never understood it.”

The story, as he came to learn, was that the Matt Damon puppet arrived at the Team America production “looking kind of mentally deficient,” and Matt Stone and Trey Parker didn’t have time to fix that, so they just rolled with it. “MAAAAAAATT DAAAAAMON” was born, but at the very least, the actor wrote, he liked “being included as a person who was against the Iraq war.”

Fast forward to this week, and Damon is back on the PR trail for his glorious return as Jason Bourne in the aptly-titled Jason Bourne. GQ has a hell of a feature profile on the 45-year-old, as his Hollywood friends and A-list co-stars contributed in describing what kind of person he really is. Spoiler: he’s a great person and his life is very good. Except when it comes to meeting fans and signing his headshots for them, because that’s when “MAAAAAAATT DAAAAAMON” comes back to haunt him.

The most common head shot that I’m asked to sign is pictures of that fucking puppet [from Team America: World Police]. And they always say, “Will you write ‘Maaaaaatt Daaaaamon’?” I’m like, “Okay. Matt, with, like, 16 a’s in it.” [Trey Parker and Matt Stone] are legitimate geniuses. But when that came out, I thought, Wow, is that what people think of me? That I’m really dumb? So I remember asking friends of mine, and they all told me that it didn’t really make sense that I was dumb. I was like, “Are you just saying that?” And then [my wife] Lucy heard an interview with [Matt and Trey] where they said the puppet showed up the day before they were supposed to shoot with it, and it looked like it had special needs, and they didn’t have time to change it with the budget. I don’t know if they made that up subsequently.

On Tuesday, he returned to Reddit for a new AMA and the same question popped up. His answer was mostly the same, but he especially hit on one important positive aspect.

I was always kind of bewildered by Team America, I think because it’s hard for us to understand what our images are in public, I think we’re not good judges of that, and when I saw myself on screen just only able to say my own name and not really that well, I kind of wondered “Wow, is that how people perceive me?” At that point I just kind of was like, I’m a screenwriter and an actor, and like really? I can barely say my own name? So I was always bewildered by that, and I never talked to Trey and Matt about that. And Incidentally, I believe those two are geniuses, and I don’t use that word lightly. I think they are absolute geniuses, and what they’ve done is awesome and I’m a big fan of theirs, but I never quite understood that one. But I will say this. Those of us who were parodied in that video were parodied because we were against the Iraq war, and we went on the record against that war, and so history is on my side not theirs.

So, you can certainly ask him to sign your puppet pictures from Team America – and you should, because that’s a great autograph to own – but just remember that even though his puppet was slow, he was still against the war in Iraq. And if Damon is secretly upset about that film and his portrayal, he can at least take comfort knowing that it almost ruined the relationship between Parker and Stone. (But it didn’t, thank goodness.)

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