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Matt Damon explains how he copes with acting in bad movies

We all love Matt Damon for his brilliant movies, but things don't always go to plan. Not every movie can be as good as The Departed.

Matt Damon in The Great Wall

For most of us, Matt Damon‘s name is synonymous with quality. Ever since Good Will Hunting, he’s been one of Hollywood’s biggest names, consistently involved in some of the greatest movies around.

But while Matt Damon has made a number of the best movies of the past few decades (and even just this year with Air and Oppenheimer), he’s also starred in more than a few duds too. We’re talking about the likes of The Great Wall, Suburbicon, Downsizing, and The Monuments Men: a selection that ranges from forgettably mediocre, to awful. Even Damon himself knows that not everything he’s worked on has been gold, and it’s his wife who taught him how to cope with it all.

“Without naming any particular movies, sometimes you find yourself in a movie that you know perhaps might not be what you’d hoped it would be, and you’re still making it,” he explained, speaking with Jake’s Takes. “[You’re] halfway through production and you’ve still got months to go, and you’ve taken your family somewhere, and you’ve inconvenienced them.”

“I remember my wife pulling me up because I fell into a depression, [thinking], ‘What have I done?’ She just said ‘We’re here now.'” Wise words indeed.

He continued, “I pride myself, in large part because of her, in being a professional actor. And what being a professional actor means is you go and do the 15-hour day and you give it absolutely everything, even in what you know is going to be a losing effort. And if you can do that with the best possible attitude then you’re a pro, and [my wife] really helped me with that.”

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Clearly, while Damon is an enormous talent both as an actor and screenwriter, he’s also got what it takes to share life lessons. The idea of trying your best at what you can control, regardless of the context, is generally a recipe for success and it’s evident that Damon abides by this rule because even in his worst movies, his own performance is never anything less than committed and serious. Yes, even in the abysmal The Great Wall.

But, just because he knows how to cope with making bad movies doesn’t mean that he enjoys the experience. Far from it. Speaking on the WTF podcast about The Great Wall, he said, “This is exactly how disasters happen. It doesn’t cohere. It doesn’t work as a movie… That’s as shitty as you can feel creatively, I think. I hope to never have that feeling again.” Ouch.

Thankfully, Damon’s new movies over the past five years have generally been far better received, and The Last Duel is still a modern classic, even if it’s underrated.

For more on Damon, read why he got rejected by Eastwood and Spielberg for the same reason. Or, see our guide to the upcoming Marvel movie that’s going to change the MCU: Deadpool 3.