Academy-Award winners Matt Damon and Tom McCarthy team up for the moving and suspenseful movie, Stillwater about a troubled and unemployed roughneck father on a mission to exonerate his daughter who has been imprisoned in Marseilles for a murder she insists she didn’t commit. We caught up with Matt to go behind the scenes…
INDULGE: What was it like working with director, Tom McCarthy who won the Oscar for Spotlight and teamed up with French writer, Thomas Bidegain (A Prophet, Rust and Bone) and Noé Debré (2015 Palme d’Or winner Dheepan).
DAMON: I wanted to work with Tom. I just love every single movie he’s made. The script was a Tom McCarthy script. I thought it was a beautiful story and a unique one, the kind of movie that isn’t getting made right now. The teaming of those three writers gave it a really interesting sensibility that made it feel like a European movie, but it’s unmistakably American as well. It was just unlike anything I’d see before.
INDULGE: Tell us how you found yourself into the character, roughneck, Bill Baker.
DAMON: When you hang out with these guys, they have a certain look and a certain sensibility. Some of them have these stories, depending on the level of mistakes they’ve made. When you’re a roughneck, you go into it very young, and when the fields are up, you’re getting a lot of money. They’re like rock stars, and they kinda’ behave on that trajectory. Some of them live real fast and hard, and squander the money they make, or do damage to the core relationships with people close to them. That’s where we find this guy. Bill Baker has clearly got a past, and he’s made a lot of mistakes as a father. He’s at a place where he’s trying to get his life together and get this relationship back on track with his daughter. He carries a lot of guilt and shame around how he’s behaved.
INDULGE: What was it like shooting on location in Marseilles, France?
DAMON: Marseilles is an unbelievably beautiful city and then you go right outside of Marseille, and you’ve got the Calanques, which are these wonderful canyons that the water has carved into over the years. Hopefully, this movie will look like a love letter to Marseilles because it’s a really special place.
DAMON: I loved working with her and I hope that we captured a real relationship between real people. It’s not a bodice-ripping kind of Hollywood sensational relationship. It’s a very real day-in and day-out relationship with real people who are broken, but who deserve to be loved and see that in each other. It feels very real and mature.
INDULGE: One of the movie’s most logistically complicated sequence takes place at one of Marseille’s signature locations, the 67,000-capacity Stade Véldrome where your character Bill takes his daughter Maya to a game. What was that like?
DAMON: For anybody who hasn’t experienced a soccer game in Europe, if you ever get the chance, you should do it. Marseilles in particular. It was completely mental and really fun. It was wonderful for them to give us the access to shoot there. (My character), he knows Oklahoma State virus Oklahoma, which is its own kind of madness, right? But this, with the flares going and the chants, to put a roughneck in that environment, it’s a chance for his eyes to get opened to this whole other thing.
— Kelly Fine
This interview had been edited for length and clarity.