At this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Hollywood A-lister Matt Damon revealed, rather interestingly, that working on his role for Tom McCarthy’s Stillwater has challenged his pre-conceived notions regarding rural blue collar US citizens and their politics.
In McCarthy’s new crime drama, Damon plays the character of Bill Baker, an oil rig worker in Stillwater, Oklahoma. In order to research for the role, the Academy-winning actor spent time with Texan and Oklahoman “roughnecks,” experiences which he described as an “eye-opening” experience.
“Culturally, [it’s] a very specific place and very different from how [Tom McCarthy] and I grew up. So it was really fascinating,” Damon explained in an interview given last Friday at the Cannes Film Festival, via Breitbart.”These people were wonderful to us and really helped us. I didn’t know when I first read the script how specific this culture was in Texas and Oklahoma, these roughnecks and what they do. And so it was really eye-opening for me.”
When asked by one of the interviewers about his own thoughts what his character’s stance would’ve been in last year’s presidential election, while Damon doesn’t explicitly confirm whether or not his character would’ve vote for trump, he shared that he believes this would’ve been the case.
“Oklahoma was, I think, the Reddest state in the last two elections, and you talk to those rough-necks and they’re always going to vote, I mean, they’re in the oil business. Their livelihood depends on that. So I don’t think it even is a question at all,” Damon explained. “We didn’t want to make it expressly political. He is who is and he is from where he is from and the movie has a lot of empathy for him, and so do we.”
Damon also addsed that the reason why his character didn’t vote in the movie was because of the simple fact that he was in prison, before going on to express his respect for oil rig workers and how unapologetic they are in regards to their political beliefs.
“These guys don’t apologise for who they are, or what they believe. Ever. ‘Do you own a gun?’, ‘Yeah, I’ve got two.’ You know what I mean? The time Tom and I spent in Oklahoma was absolutely critical to building this character…but we got so much guidance from these guys,” he said.
Damon then went on to reminisce about how the men he spent time with not only “invited [me’] into their homes, [and] a backyard barbecue, and a guitar comes out and somebody starts singing church songs,” but also taught him how to properly dress for the role.
“They all have goatees, the hat, the glasses,” described Damon. “They’re strong guys because that’s what they do. They’re not six-pack ab guys, but they’re strong.”
Though he doesn’t often share his own thoughts on politics, Damon is no stranger to speaking on the topic publicly.
“I wish him well and we all must. A successful American president is good for all of us and we really have to be rooting for him right now,” said the actor when asked about his opinion on then-President Donald Trump during an interview with CNBC in 2017.
Later in 2019, the actor doubled down on his original statement about President Trump, stating, “What I said then, and what I still feel, is I root very strongly for the president of our country,” and asserting that “we need him to do well’’ because “that’s good for everybody.’’
Conversely, Damon has mentioned both that he was a supporter of then-candidate Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential run and that he was thrilled to have Kamala Harris serving in California, going so far as to say that he would like Harris to be president at some point.
“There’s going to be a huge Democratic field. I love Joe Biden and especially now, particularly with our institutions under such attack,” told the actor to CNBC’s Tania Bryer. “I think it would be a great signal to the world if we put somebody who was established and very stable and very wise back in charge.”
He continued, “In California, we have Kamala Harris, who I think is absolutely brilliant and I would love to someday see her be the president of the United States and if that happened in 2020 — I’d be very happy with that too.”
If Damon believes spending time with oil rig workers from Oklahoma was such an eye-opening experience — which he seemingly deemed as overwhelmingly positive — one can only wonder the kind of experience the renowned actor has had witnessing the first five months of the Joe Biden presidency.
What do you make about Matt Damon’s “eye-opening” experience spending time with oil rig workers in Oklahoma? Be sure to let us know all about it in the comments section down below or on social media!