“I think I better raise my game”: Despite 2 Oscars, Denzel Washington Was Intimidated by 25 Year Old Matt Damon While Filming $100M War Movie That Gave Jason Bourne Star PTSD

Despite 2 Oscars, Denzel Washington Was Intimidated by 25 Year Old Matt Damon While Filming $100M War Movie That Gave Jason Bourne Star PTSD
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Known as one of the greatest actors of the 21st century, two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington had the opportunity to work with 25-year-old Matt Damon when the Good Will Hunting actor was just starting off his career. However, despite Washington’s esteemed reputation and multiple Oscar nominations, it was Damon’s craft that left a lasting impression on the veteran actor. So much so, that the Ford Vs Ferrari actor’s very first encounter with him forced him to rethink his acting game!

Matt Damon and Denzel Washington
Matt Damon and Denzel Washington

In 1996, Washington and Damon co-starred in the war movie Courage Under Fire, along with Meg Ryan. And during the 20th-anniversary celebration of the film in 2016, director Edward Zwick revealed that Matt Damon‘s performance caught the attention of Washington, leaving him feeling somewhat intimidated on set.

READ MORE: Matt Damon Said “I’ll kill myself” if He Doesn’t Get $100M Denzel Washington Movie Role, Regretted after Finding Out His Role’s “Too Small”


When Denzel Washington was intimidated by Matt Damon

During a media interaction, Zwick opened up on Denzel Washington‘s first interaction with Damon. Following their first scene together, Washington was highly impressed by the young actor. While talking about the incident, Zwick revealed that Washington leaned over to him and praised Damon’s talent. Zwick said,

“Denzel came to work and he hadn’t met [Matt]… They did this first scene together and after we finished Matt’s side of the close-up and turned the camera around to go to Denzel, he leaned over and whispered to me: ‘Man, I think I better raise my game – this kid is good!’”

Denzel Washington is a pure-hearted actor
Denzel Washington

Furthermore, Zwick added that it was pretty clear that Damon, who won his very first Oscar at the age of 27 had something special. He continued, “It was pretty obvious to all of us from the very beginning — at least to me – that [Matt] had something very special.”

Although Damon’s co-actor and director have nothing but praise for Damon, in an interview with Film Scout, the Jason Bourne star had to spend 2 years on PTSD medication after the shoot. Having suffered physical and mental stress after reducing around 40 pounds for his role, Damon revealed that he suffered from an eating disorder post-filming.


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How did Courage Under Fire propel Matt Damon to success

The young actor’s talent shone through in his breakthrough role, making a lasting impression on his esteemed co-star. Hence, it’s no surprise that Damon’s exceptional acting skills didn’t just resonate with Zwick and Washington. Francis Ford Coppola, the renowned filmmaker, noticed Damon’s talent and subsequently cast him in the John Grisham adaptation and thriller film, The Rainmaker. Despite Damon’s role being relatively small, his commitment to the role, including undergoing a dramatic weight loss, caught the attention of directors and industry insiders.

Matt Damon
Matt Damon

In the same year as The Rainmaker‘s release, Damon co-wrote the critically acclaimed film Good Will Hunting, in which he also played the lead role. This opportunity further solidified Damon’s position in Hollywood, showcasing his multifaceted talents as both an actor and a writer.


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Damon’s career continued to flourish, and in 1998, he landed the coveted role of Private Ryan in Steven Spielberg’s World War II film, Saving Private Ryan. This pivotal role propelled Damon into the Hollywood spotlight and marked the beginning of a trend where studios invested significant resources to feature Damon in their projects.

Source: Yahoo Entertainment


Written by Devyani

Articles Published: 288

With a portfolio of over 600 articles, Devyani Sharma is a freelance writer working in the Entertainment and Sports niche. With a Master's Degree in English literature, Devyani places great importance on the power of words and their ability to connect with readers. When not busy watching sci-fi movies, action thrillers and comedies, Devyani indulges in her love for fiction novels and writing about NASCAR races.