Matt Damon Broke Down How he Hit Jude Law’s Dickie Greenleaf in ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’

The Talented Mr. Ripley is one of Matt Damon’s most iconic films. The 1999 feature allowed the Bostonian actor to branch out past his Good Will Hunting and Saving Private Ryan roles

Damon’s character, the sinister and psychopathic Tom Ripley, was based on Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley novels. The film follows the book of the same name, where Tom Ripley is hired by a wealthy New York City father to bring his son home from Europe. Instead, the grifter gets caught up in his charge’s lavish lifestyle in Italy. 

Jude Law played Dickie Greenleaf while Gwyneth Paltrow appeared as his fiance Marge. 

Matt Damon at a press event in Germany in 1998 for 'The Talented Mr. Ripley'
Matt Damon promoting ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’ XAMAX\ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Tensions rose in ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’s’ infamous boat scene

One of the film’s most iconic scenes is when Tom and Dickie argue out on a rowboat. The latter’s suspicions about his so-called friend reach an all-time high. Dickie tells him he is marrying Marge and calls him a leech.

Ripley counters with Dickie’s own discretions, marrying his girlfriend yet impregnating someone else. The two continue to argue until Dickie tells Ripley he gives him the creeps. Ripley finally hits him with a paddle in a fit of rage, slicing the side of his face. Blood pours down as Dickie attacks his former friend. 

Jude Law had to get up early to physically transform for the boat scene

“That’s a prosthetic gag. What [director] Anthony [Minghella] wanted was the hit, a quick exchange of dialogue, and then for the blood to start,” the actor revealed in an interview with GQ. 

Damon emphasized that the visual’s outcome started and began with Jude Law. “I remember Jude getting up at like 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning to go before everybody with the makeup team,” he said before describing the prosthetic he used. 

“They built this thing on his face that was very fragile. I’m sure we would have shot probably the bulk of the scene the day before. You know, because it’s a pretty intense scene on the boat between the two of us.”

Matt Damon said the crew was on high alert while shooting ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’s’ most famous scene

Damon further explained the type of equipment needed to pull off such a stunt. “When you do something like that, you’re walking around with wires attached to you.”

Jude Law was carefully monitored on set while filming the boat scene. “It’s like ‘Nobody touch him!’” Damon joked.

“Everything is just ‘Get Jude onto the boat. Get him where he needs to be. And then everybody get ready. Be in position. Three Two One. Boom.’ Then the [wound] opens. Then you have to take it all off, and then you just put blood on him, and then we would have carried on with the scene. We would have shot that over a couple of days.”

“Anthony [Minghella] had a great love for all of his characters. I think that comes across in the movie. I haven’t seen that movie in a long time,” he admitted. “It seems to be one of the ones that lasted.”

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