Matt Damon on Rough Career Patch: 'My Phone Just Stopped Ringing' (Video)
"It was sobering ... It didn't really feel like a rough ride at the time," admits the "Promised Land" actor of his pre-"Bourne" experience in Hollywood.
After winning his best original screenplay Oscar for 1997's Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon experienced the rapid rise to fame that such an accolade brings -- and also the downside, when his career stalled before being reinvigorated again with Jason Bourne blockbusters.
"It was sobering ... It didn't really feel like a rough ride at the time," the 42-year-old star, an Academy Award hopeful for his role in Gus Van Sant's Promised Land, said during THR's Actor Roundtable alongside Denzel Washington, Richard Gere and others.
"I had a couple movies that didn't work, and some of them had big enough budgets that people care, and so basically my phone just stopped ringing. ... And then the Bourne Identity opened (in 2002) and everybody was my friend again."
Damon also opened up about the issue with Bourne screenwriter Tony Gilroy that kept him from signing on to The Bourne Legacy, the fourth movie in the franchise, which eventually tapped Jeremy Renner as his replacement.
"I was always open to doing it with Paul Greengrass, the director ... and they never had a script," he said, explaining: "So I didn't want to put myself in that situation again because they takes years off your life doing that. I'd rather have a script and go through it in a sensible way."