Regarded as one of those companions with the most beautiful bromance ever, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have not only proven their friendship off-screen but also on-screen as well, encouraging each other and giving each other the boost required for their careers. And the 1997 movie Good Will Hunting, written by them together, is the perfect example of the same.
But while the movie received critical acclamation worldwide, even winning the pair an Oscar along with establishing a firmly reputed position for them in Hollywood, before the movie was made both Damon and Affleck were desperately praying for A-listers to star in their movie to give it the leverage it required to become successful.
Matt Damon And Ben Affleck Were Desperate For An A-Lister To Star In Good Will Hunting
Tired of being passed around for smaller roles in Hollywood, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck came to the decision that they’ll earn their fame by writing a movie by themselves in which they could easily star in the lead roles without even going through the bothersome audition process. But while this sounded easy, it wasn’t so in real life.
To make their movie successful and worth buying, they needed an A-lister’s name in it. For this, they added the role of Sean Maguire in their movie, keeping the role of Harvey Keitel in Quentin Tarantino’s movie in mind because he was at the peak of his fame at the time, for any elite actor from the entertainment industry who would be interested in starring in it.
“We were looking for an actor that could get us money because Ben and I wanted to star in the movie and we knew we were worth nothing. So we needed to get [a big name involved]. We wrote [the role] really open-ended because we wanted to cast as wide a net as possible because we were just trying to get the movie made… We knew we could adjust it if Morgan Freeman or Denzel Washington wanted to come and play it… If Meryl Streep took the part instead of a father-son relationship it could be a mother-son relationship,” Damon said in an interview with GQ
But while they were desperate for Hollywood hotshots like Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, or even Meryl Streep to end up with an important role in their movie, it didn’t quite end up that way and they were left with Robin Williams to star in their movie instead.
How Robin Williams Ended Up Working With Them Instead
The character of Sean Maguire finally found its portrayer as it landed on Francis Ford Coppola, who recommended Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to cast Robin Williams in the role.
“Robin had just done Jack with Francis Ford Coppola,” Damon revealed in an interview with Boston. “When he read the script and really liked it, his one question for Coppola was, ‘Who are these guys?'”
Like other veterans, Williams too was quite taken with the part, finding it hard to say no to it.
“I read it and went, ‘This is really extraordinary,'” Robin Williams said in the same interview. “The Sean character had such history that I was going, ‘Where did it come from?’ I found out later that it’s based on Matt’s mother and Ben’s father, kind of a synthesis of the two.”
Just like that, the Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Robin Williams starrer Good Will Hunting went into production and became a masterpiece on the big screen, winning best friends an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay
You can watch Good Will Hunting on Amazon Prime Video.