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Matt Damon, who co-wrote Promised Land with John Krasinski, at first had intended to make the film his directorial debut. But when he realized his schedule wouldn’t allow him to dedicate enough time to the project, the actor stepped down, and Gus Van Sant took the helm.
“I wish I could have directed it on one hand because I loved it and I really wanted to, and I wanted to start that chapter of my life also,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter. “But at the same time, we got Gus, so I can’t say that I’m unhappy with the outcome.”
In the film, Damon stars as a natural gas salesman who travels to a small town to encourage the residents to lease their land for drilling, but finds resistance from the residents and an environmentalist (Krasinski).
It’s a reunion for Damon and Van Sant, who worked together on 1997’s Good Will Hunting, which Damon wrote and shared an Oscar with Ben Affleck.
“I just trust him implicitly,” Damon says of Van Sant. “When it comes to human behavior, he’s just got an unbelievable eye. His direction is perfect. He’s never given me a piece of direction that hasn’t been helpful and absolutely necessary.”
Damon, who was also a producer on the project, has kept a busy schedule with acting projects including the sci-fi actioner Elysium set for release in 2013, but he’s still looking to start his next chapter with directing.
Asked when he’ll know the right project for him to direct, Damon tells THR: “I think it’ll just feel right. A lot of the choices I make at this point are just kind of intuitive, just based on years of reading scripts, and it’s just more about a feeling at this point for me,” he adds.
The future also could hold another collaboration with either of Damon’s writing partners, Krasinski and Affleck.
“I hope John wasn’t just using me as a stepping stone to get to Ben — which I think is really likely at this point,” jokes Damon.
Watch THR’s interview Damon above, and view THR‘s interview with Krasinski below to hear more about the making of Promised Land, which opens Dec. 28.
Email: Rebecca.Ford@thr.com; Twitter: @Beccamford
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