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The Hilariously 'Direct' Story Behind Christopher Nolan Pitching Matt Damon Interstellar

 Matt Damon in Interstellar.
Matt Damon in Interstellar.

Matt Damon has worked with some of the best directors in the business, from Martin Scorsese to Steven Spielberg to the Coen Brothers, it seems like the filmmaker is a major deciding factor when the Good Will Hunting actor chooses a movie. It’s no surprise then that Damon jumped at the opportunity to work with Christopher Nolan when he was asked to join the cast of Interstellar. The part is small, and the Oscar winner wasn’t even a part of the marketing of the film, but his appearance is memorable anyways. Recently, Damon opened up about how Nolan pitched the movie to him, and it is absolutely hilarious.

Before the SAG-AFRTA strike, the Oppenheimer cast and Nolan sat down with Fandango to chat about the latest biopic from the spectacle filmmaker, and their experience working with the director in the past. Damon, who always seems to come with the best stories, talked about how direct Nolan is when he speaks to actors, and used the story of him pitching Interstellar to Damon as an example. The Martian actor said:

Chris is very direct. Like when he offered me Interstellar years ago, he said ‘You knowthey say there are no small parts, there are only small actors?’ and I’m on the phone and go ‘Yeah!’ [And he goes] ‘This is a small part’

This is so funny, and shows that the Inception director has a sense of humor. Despite the part, by Nolan’s own admission, being quite small, Damon still shines in Interstellar, and adds a great piece of conflict for the central character. The Jason Bourne actor's appearance is a welcome surprise to audiences seeing the movie in the theaters for the first time, who likely didn’t even know he played a role in the movie. He has a villainous streak in the movie, which was uncommon for the leading man, and added more tension to the space epic.

Nolan has been known to try and placate actors’ expectations before joining the casts of his star-studded movies. Florence Pugh revealed the director said something similar to her when she was offered Oppenheimer, apologizing for the fact the character had little screen-time before she accepted. The Little Women star accepted nonetheless and still plays such a powerful role in the movie. The willingness of actors to accept small supporting roles in order to work with the filmmaker shows Nolan’s prowess as a director, and how meaningful the experience working with him is.

Damon’s part in Oppenheimer isn’t much bigger, but still is magnetic on screen. His desire to work with Nolan again is well documented, and even revealed that working with the director was a condition he negotiated with his wife while taking a break from acting. Thankfully he was willing to be a supporting character again, because General Groves wouldn’t have been nearly as effective in a less-talented actor’s hands. He may sometimes take small parts, but Matt Damon is no small actor.

You can see Matt Damon (briefly) in Interstellar, which is currently streaming with a Paramount+ subscription. Fans should also check out his latest collaboration with Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer, which is a major box office success and is still playing in theaters nationwide. It’s a spectacle suited for the big screen, so make sure to see it in a cinema while you still can.