Matt Damon on Why Movies Like ‘Ford v. Ferrari’ Are ‘Going Away’

Matt Damon has been in show business for a long time. His film debut was Mystic Pizza 1988, and he’s had a pretty steady career ever since. A lot has changed during that time. The business of making movies has changed. In an interview with The Talks, the actor said there’s a certain type of movie that studios are beginning to completely move away from. Movies like Ford v Ferrari.

Matt Damon poses for a photo at the "Le Mans 66" Premiere At Cinema Gaumont Champs Elysees on October 06, 2019 in Paris, France.
Matt Damon | Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

How the film industry has changed in the last 20 years, according to Matt Damon

The Stillwater actor said, undoubtedly, the “movie business is so different from 20 years ago.” For one thing, DVDs are now obsolete.

“I was talking to one studio head a few years ago that it cut the business in half,” he told The Talks. “Movies like Ford v Ferrari, for example, it was incredible that we even got the financing to do it because these are precisely the types of movies that are going away.”

For example, when Damon was in Cannes with Behind the Candelabra, he asked a studio head who’d passed on the film why he’d made that decision.

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“Every studio passed on that movie and we ended up doing it at HBO,” said Damon. “He said, ‘It was $25 million, and then I have to put $25 million into P&A. Then I’ve got to split it with an exhibitor, and the theater chain is going to get half. So you’ve got to make $100 million before I get a penny out of that movie; I’ve got to risk 50. I love Steven [Soderbergh], Michael [Douglas], and you, but that’s a real gamble.’ That’s why movies like that are going to TV or they are not getting made. All that was happening. That’s another perspective shift. It’s just a different business.”

So what does that mean for an actor like Matt Damon?

Damon isn’t particularly concerned about not getting work with this shift in the business. There’ll just be more television opportunities than film, he muses.

“It would be frightening if I were 20, 25 years younger and just getting into the business because I would be less certain about where it was going,” he said. “But the good news is that a lot of great stuff has just migrated to TV and there is wonderful stuff being made on TV, so I feel there is going to be work available. It’s just my bread and butter movies were movies like this. Those are the kind of movies they are not making.”

The ‘Stillwater’ actor wants to expand his resume

Damon says, even though the industry is far less predictable today than when he started, he still loves his job.

“I still love making movies, and I love a lot of different aspects of that,” he said. “I can definitely see directing; I can definitely see writing more in the next decade.”

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He doesn’t plan on giving up acting, though.

“I would still keep acting but ultimately I love filmmaking because it speaks to that impulse that we have to tell stories to each other,” he said. “It’s a very human impulse that we have had since we were drawing pictures on cave walls, saying, ‘Hey look, the buffalo almost got me. My friends and I got the buffalo instead. Can you relate to that?’ Film and books and music… Art is the best way to tell each other those stories. I still love that. I still feel compelled to do it and I don’t know where it is all going. I guess I am a little uneasy about it. It’s just something new that puts you in a state of unease. The next 20 years are not going to look anything like the last 20 years. That much is clear.”