Making his way to the top wasn’t an easy task for Matt Damon, as initially, he struggled to find the type of roles he wanted during the early days of his career. However, in order to change that and showcase his acting chops to the World, the actor was adamant about starring in one of Denzel Washington’s projects, even though it wasn’t a big role.
But despite not getting a substantial part in Courage Under Fire, this job would be the one to put Damon on the map. And even though the Jason Bourne star too realized that the role in the film might be too small, he knew that it will set him apart.
Matt Damon signed in for Courage Under Fire to showcase his acting chops
After initially struggling to find his footing in the industry, Matt Damon was adamant about showcasing his acting chops but wasn’t getting the desired role to do that. However, things changed after he got an opportunity to star in 1996’s Courage Under Fire, starring Denzel Washington at its forefront, as he finally got the opportunity to go full method for the role.
Considering the role of Specialist Ilario wasn’t the most substantial part of the film, Damon thought that nobody was going to take this role, and the actor was determined to get this job under his wing. He recalled,
“I thought, Nobody will take this role, because it’s too small. I was sick of reading scripts that Chris O’Donnell had passed on, and I was looking for something to set me apart: ‘Look what I’ll do, I’ll kill myself!’ Directors took note of it.”
After succeeding at getting the role under his belt, The Martian star went to significant lengths to leave a prolonged impression on the industry with his limited screentime.
Going full method seriously impacted Mat Damon’s health
Playing the role of a traumatized medic and former soldier wasn’t an easy task, as Matt Damon gave his all to perfect the character and even lost 40 pounds to get into the desired shape for the role. However, going to these extreme lengths eventually caught up with the actor as Damon suffered from severe mental and physical complications as a result of this exhausting process. The actor explained,
“I had to go on medication, for dizziness, lightheadedness, stress, post-traumatic stress disorder…I’ve been off the medication for a couple of weeks now, after two years. That taught me a lot about what I can and can’t do, what I should and shouldn’t do.”
But these struggles eventually paid off, as Damon was successful in leaving a star-making impression, which would eventually result in him getting hired in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Rainmaker.