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Clint Eastwood and Spielberg rejected Matt Damon for the same reason

Matt Damon, one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, had one request rejected by both Clint Eastwood and Spielberg for exactly the same reason, a decade apart.

Matt Damon in Saving Private Ryan

Matt Damon is one of the biggest names in Hollywood, but just because he’s got name recognition doesn’t mean he always gets want he wants. In fact, both Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg rejected the same request from Matt Damon while he was making movies with them.

Damon worked with Clint Eastwood while making drama movies Invictus and Hereafter in 2009 and 2010, over a decade after his collaboration with Steven Spielberg on Saving Private Ryan (one of the best movies of all time). And, it was during the making of Saving Private Ryan that Damon would go on to make his mistake first.

“I remember when I was doing Saving Private Ryan there was a scene with a couple of guys, and Spielberg moved on. He was marching off… and I said, ‘Steven don’t you think we should have done a couple more takes of that thing?’ because it hadn’t been great,” the actor recalled, speaking with Off Camera. “He turned on a dime and he said, ‘I can spend about an hour on that scene and make it 10% better, or I can do another great shot. I’m gonna do the shot.'”

Ten years later, Damon would go on to make the exact same request of Clint Eastwood (who is even stricter on not re-doing takes when unnecessary), and got the exact same response. Speaking to Sean Evans on Hot Ones, he explained how it went down, while filming the movie Invictus.

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“[Making Invictus] was a little terrifying because I was playing a South African in Invictus and that’s a really hard accent to do… On day one of shooting we did the first take, it went pretty well. Clint says, ‘Cut, print, check the gate,’ which means, ‘We’re done here. Let’s move on.’”

However, clearly not learning from his encounter with Spielberg, Damon said, “‘Boss, do you think maybe we can get one more?’ [Eastwood] just turns, and he goes, ‘Why? Do you want to waste everybody’s time?’ I was like, ‘OK, we’re done! Let’s move on.'”

On two separate occasions, then Damon asked Spielberg and Eastwood (both among the best directors of all time) to re-do a take when it wasn’t necessary, and they both rejected him for the same reason: not wanting to just waste time. Especially when an actor thinks they could have been better, being told they can’t do another take is tough. But, by now, it’s a lesson that Damon has had to learn the hard way.

For more on Damon, check out our guide to the best drama movies, and the best thriller movies (he’s starred in plenty of both). Or, if you’re a fan of Eastwood, see our breakdown of the best Westerns, and learn why Tom Hanks once said the director treated him like a horse. You can also check out our guide to all the new movies coming in 2024.