Well, this is a weird story you won’t see every day. We were this close to seeing Matt Damon’s directorial debut – an untitled film previously known as Gold Mist – but now fans will have to wait a little longer to see one of their favorite Beantown boys step behind the camera. Damon was all set to direct, but the project is now being directed by his Good Will Hunting director Gus Van Sant. Read on for the strange reasoning behind the switch.
A bit of backstory: actor John Krasinski came up with the original idea for this film and hired Dave Eggers, who wrote Where the Wild Things Are and the 2009 Krasinski-starrer Away We Go, to write a draft. Krasinski showed the Eggers script to Damon during the filming of The Adjustment Bureau (on which Damon worked with Krasinski’s wife, Emily Blunt), and then, since Eggers was unavailable to do rewrite work, Krasinski and Damon co-wrote the rewrite themselves. Now here’s the strange part – when Damon stepped back from directing, Vulture reports he cited script issues as part of the reason for his departure (though he’ll still star alongside Krasinski). Script issues on a script you co-wrote, eh? Hmm.
The Playlist posits the real problem could just be timing, since Damon has been hard at work on Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 follow-up, Elysium, and doesn’t feel like he has enough time to commit to pre-production for this new film. The plot here is being described as a “Capraesque drama” about with Damon and Krasinski as opposing sales executives in a small town, and evidently there’s already a role in place for Frances McDormand to co-star.
As soon as the conflict arose, the pair – who are also producing – offered the director’s chair to Gus Van Sant who, aside from directing Damon and Ben Affleck’s Oscar-winning screenplay for Good Will Hunting, worked with Damon on a small indie called Gerry. As long as everything goes according to plan, production will begin this April with a 12-15 million dollar budget.
What do you think about Damon re-teaming with Van Sant? Would you rather have seen him behind the camera for this type of project?