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While many at the screening assumed that he was avoiding the spotlight after coming under fire for remarks he recently made about sexual harassment and abuse in Hollywood, a rep for Paramount Pictures said the Oscar winner was out of town “dealing with an ongoing family matter.” Sources added that Damon’s father has been ill.
Damon’s co-stars in the Alexander Payne-directed sci-fi social satire weighed in on the controversy, but were careful in choosing their words.
“It’s a delicate thing for everyone to talk about, and I feel like we’re all learning,” Kristen Wiig told The Hollywood Reporter. “I have friends who have just told me stories of things that happened to them that I had no idea about it. It’s just been a heartbreaking thing for everybody.”
Alyssa Milano and Damon’s Good Will Hunting co-star Minnie Driver took to social media late last week to criticize Damon after he said during an interview with ABC News that he believes the current “culture of outrage” needs to recognize that there is a “spectrum of behavior” when it comes to sexual misconduct.
The criticism continued on Monday after the actor told Business Insider that men “who don’t do this kind of thing” deserve more recognition.
“You know, this is not something that plays out well in soundbites,” James Van Der Beek told THR. “I think Matt was trying to do some good and ask some questions that we’re all going to have to answer pretty soon. I don’t have the answers. We’re all figuring it out.”
Laura Dern explained she hadn’t read Damon’s remarks yet because she’s been on a whirlwind press tour promoting Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but said, “We’ve got to all figure out a way to work together” and not “bully [each other] on social media.”
Meanwhile, Hong Chau, who plays Damon’s political activist love interest in the movie about a man (Damon) who decides to undergo a procedure that shrinks him to a height of just five inches, had more than just the premiere to celebrate. She recently earned a Golden Globe and SAG Award nomination for her role.
“I’m excited,” she said. “I’m so happy that the film is being recognized and it’s such an incredible role and one that I had never seen before. I’m so glad that other people saw the same thing that I saw when I read the script.”
Even though Van Der Beek only makes a brief appearance in the movie as an old high school friend of Damon’s, the Day in the Life of Diplo actor said, “You hear Alexander Payne and you say, ‘Yes.’ He asked if I’d play a role and he said, ‘It’s a little small and I don’t want to insult you.’ I said, ‘I’ll work craft services for Alexander Payne.’ I just want to see how he does it.”
Dern’s role is also more of a cameo, but it marks the first time she’s worked with Payne since starring in his directorial debut, the 1996 comedy film Citizen Ruth. “I don’t know if we consider it our reunion because we’re working on that!” she said. “We’re figuring that out and hopefully that will be happening in the near future.”
Other castmembers at the premiere included Niecy Nash, Udo Kier, Kerri Kenney, Ingjerd Egeberg and Margareta Pettersson.
Downsizing opens in theaters Friday.
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