Good Will Hunting was released 15 years ago and made household names out of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The actors also co-wrote the script, taking home the Oscar for Best Screenplay. The success wasn’t short-lived. Since the film’s release, Damon has been in over 30 films, Affleck in over 20, and is now a successful director with Gone Baby Gone, The Town and Argo. Damon is currently promoting his soon to be released feature, Promised Land and talked to Vulture about his rise to fame.
Everything changed for us within the course of two months, everything was different.
The weird thing about fame is that people say you change, but you actually don’t. The world doesn’t change either — it just changes in its relationship to you. You walk into a room and suddenly the conversation stops because everybody looks at you. It’s a really weird thing because intellectually, you know that the important things are all the same — everything that mattered yesterday still matters today — but nobody treats you the same. You just need to recalibrate everything.
In a modest interview with Joe Leydon, back in 1997, Damon talks about what he needs to do to have longevity in the industry.
I really wanna be here in fifty years…Basically, the people who go to movies are gonna decide whether I have a career or not.
I’m not deluded enough to think I got it made in the shade, I have a lot to learn and there are a lot of great people out there I can learn from…I look at it like a trade, it’s like carpentry. If I focus on it and I apprentice myself to the best people out there, then I will improve.
Gus Van Sant is the director of Good Will Hunting and admits that at the time, he didn’t think the film would have as much success as it did.
I hoped that if we were lucky, it would do well, but I didn’t envision Oscars.
More than a mild success, Good Will Hunting was nominated for eight Oscars, winning two and had the seventh biggest box office of 1997. Watch Damon and Affleck’s jubilant Oscar acceptance speech here. At the time, they had only appeared together in this film and Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy.
A credit to Van Sant’s directing, Good Will Hunting stands the test of time in most regards, except for maybe one thing that Damon takes full responsibility for.
You know, and I fought for that hair. That is so my fault. For whatever weird reason at that age, I loved that haircut. Gus was like, ‘Really?’ Ben was like, ‘Really?’ If you look at Ben’s hair in that movie, it’s totally acceptable by today’s standards, but no, I wanted the frosted fuckin’ hair. I don’t know what my problem was. I looked like I should be singing backup for Color Me Badd.
Take a look at some of the cast and crew fifteen years ago and now today and celebrate their 15 years of fame by watching the Good Will Hunting 15th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray, featuring 90-minutes of new special features, including retrospective interviews with cast & crew.