Counted among some of the best movies of all time, Good Will Hunting was truly a classic piece. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s movie was a commercial as well as a critical hit with a gross earning of $225 million worldwide. The movie received nine Oscar nominations and the 1997 sports drama was a very unexpected hit and completely turned around the careers of Damon and Affleck.
The film was directed by Last Days director Gus Van Sant, who was nominated for Academy Award for Best Director and Best Picture for Good Will Hunting. However, as per reports, Robin Williams’ movie was almost directed by Oscar winner director Mel Gibson.
Mel Gibson could have directed Good Will Hunting
Mel Gibson is one of the most talented and acclaimed actor-directors in Hollywood. He was part of numerous movies from 1980 to 2000, including hits like Mad Max, Lethal Weapon, The Patriot, On the Line, and others. He had a breakthrough success with the film Braveheart which was released in 1995 and won him Golden Globe Award and Academy Award for Best Director. Gibson produced, directed, and starred in the movie, which won five Oscars.
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck approached Mel Gibson to direct the movie on the recommendation of producer Harvey Weinstein. He was interested in the film and was impressed by the script. But things did not work out between them for a certain reason.
Film co-producer Chris Moore told Boston Magazine in 2013,
“Mel Gibson developed it for a few months. Matt at one point said directly to Gibson, ‘Look, man. We’re getting too old. If this keeps going by, Ben and I can’t play these parts. Is there any chance you’d just let it go?’ And to Mel’s credit, he said, ‘I totally understand what you’re saying.’ That was a real stand-up thing to do.”
Hence, the Payback star stepped back from the project, and Gus Van Sant became the new director of Damon and Affleck’s film.
Good Will Hunting was directed by Gus Van Sant
Good Will Hunting‘s new director was Gus Van Sant. Damon and Affleck met the director around the same time as Gibson, who had already worked with Affleck’s brother, Casey Affleck, for a film. There was some comfort zone, and the connection between the actors and the director was already there.
The director’s attention to detail made him the perfect choice for Good Will Hunting. He received an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. And the film became one of the biggest achievements for the director and the actors.
After dropping the project, Mel Gibson directed another major hit in 2004 named The Passion of the Christ. It was a commercial success but also attracted lots of controversy.
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon became quite famous with the film and got lots of individual projects after the hit. Affleck later entered the DC world as Batman for the movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The actor will soon reprise his role in The Flash and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.
Source-Showbiz Cheat Sheet