“He has the same tenacity”: Clint Eastwood Took A Major Risk By Casting Matt Damon In $122M Movie That Would’ve Received Severe Backlash Like Tom Cruise

Clint Eastwood Took A Major Risk By Casting Matt Damon In $122M Movie That Would've Received Severe Backlash Like Tom Cruise
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Clint Eastwood is known for his keen eyes and unyielding want of perfection in his creations. Despite striving for ‘perfectness’, he faced a terrible risk, similar to what Tom Cruise did when Eastwood decided to cast Matt Damon in his $122 million movie. Even with the risk of potential backlash, the famous director decided to trust Damon’s talent and skill.

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Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood

It was the year 2009 and the movie was Invictus, and there was widespread skepticism about Matt Damon portraying a rugby player despite being too short in height. However, despite the risk, Clint Eastwood decided to gamble on his audacious choice.

Also Read: “You lucky, lucky spoilt brat”: Scott Eastwood Revealed His Inner Clint Eastwood After Getting Punched by Own Father for a Terrible Mistake

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Clint Eastwood Cast Matt Damon Despite Potential Backlash

Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman in a still from the movie
Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman in a still from the movie

Also Read: Matt Damon Was Nervous Of Spending a Night With Jimmy Kimmel And A Mysterious Person at His House, Thought It Will Be “Uncomfortable”

Invictus was a 2009 biographical movie about the 1995 Rugby World Cup. It focused on how a predominately white rugby team captained by Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon) was used by Nelson Mandela to bring together their racially divided county.

While the movie fared well and Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman (who played Mandela) both received Oscar nominations, Damon’s casting was viewed with a lot of speculation. The reason was that while Pienaar was 6’3, Damon was just 5’10. But just as the message of Invictus (the poem) goes, being undeterred and self-believing, Clint Eastwood decided to take a leap of faith.

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In an interview, the Dirty Harry star stated,

“Matt may not be the same height as Francois, but he has the same tenacity and power. He also worked out very hard and got himself in terrific shape for the film. And, by structuring setups and camera angles, you can make a person look the way you need them to look.”

Despite the potential of a severe backlash, Eastwood’s decision was appreciated and the movie was hailed for its portrayal of such a pivotal moment in the history of South Africa. While critics were considerate of Matt Damon portraying a man 5 inches taller than him, they weren’t as merciful when years later Tom Cruise faced the same crisis.

Also Read: “Our crew is still on the thread”: Saving Hollywood for Extinction is Still Not Enough for Tom Cruise as Top Gun 2 Cast Leave Out $600M Star Out of Group Chat

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Unlike Matt Damon, Tom Cruise Received Severe Backlash For Being Short

Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher
Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher

While Clint Eastwood’s ‘leap of faith’ decision was well-received, fate was cruel to the makers of Jack Reacher when they decided to cast 5’7 tall Tom Cruise. Described as a towering personality with humongous shoulders, Reacher is 6’5 in the books. So, naturally, when the readers heard of Cruise playing the formidable former Military Police Officer, there had to be a huge backlash given the 10-inch height difference.

What Matt Damon lacked in terms of height, he surely truly compensated it in terms of his physique and acting prowess. But for Cruise, even his physique was unfulfilling to play the role, since the character had to look physically intimidating. Hence, the franchise was dropped, and Tom Cruise was fired from the role.

Invictus can be rented on Amazon Video.

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Source:: Emanuel Levy and People

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Written by Maria Sultan

Articles Published: 1173

Maria Sultan is a News Content Writer at FandomWire. Having honed her skills are a Freelance and Professional content writer for more than 5 years (and counting), her expertise spans various genres and content type. A Political Science and History Graduate, her deep interest in the world around shapes her writing, blending her insights across diverse themes.

Outside the realm of writing, Maria can be often found buried in the world of books or pursuing art or engaged in fervent discussions about anything or everything, her passions balanced by binge watching Kdramas, Anime, Movies or Series during leisure hours.