Last week at the Cannes film festival, actor Matt Damon teared up during a standing ovation for his new film “Stillwater” following its premiere. Damon explained his emotional moment, as well as why he chose to play a character who “of course” was a supporter of President Donald Trump.
During Friday’s press conference, Damon stated of his character, “He is who he is and he’s from where he’s from, and the movie has a lot of empathy for him, and so do we.” Damon’s character is an Oklahoma roughneck who travels to France and goes through great and daring lengths to rescue his daughter from a French prison.
At one point in the movie the character’s French companions asked him whether he voted for Trump, to which he responds that he did not but only because he had been a felon in prison and could not vote. “These guys don’t apologize for who they are or what they believe. ‘Do you have a gun? Yeah, I’ve got two” Damon quipped.
Damon also explained how he, along with director Tom McCarthy spent a good amount of time in Oklahoma meeting and spending time with real “roughnecks” of the film who spend hours driving from oil rig to oil rig and back home.
Damon said he learned why they wear certain flame-retardant jean brands over others and how that makes them walk. He added getting to understand their culture was essential to getting the character right.
“We got so much guidance from the actual guys” said Damon. “It’s a culturally very specific place, and a very different place from where he and I grew up. So these people were wonderful to us, and really helped us. I didn’t know when I first read the script how specific this culture was in Texas and Oklahoma.”
As for his emotional display following the movie premiere, Damon said, “we’re all forever changed by this year. It’s a very inhumane reality that we were asked to live in. That lack of human connection is a very inhumane, it’s not how we’re supposed to live. It’s scary and anxiety inducing.”
“All of these things, we’re not meant to be cut off from each other” the actor concluded.