Matt Damon nearly starved himself to death for a role

Matt Damon says he nearly starved himself to death for a role that got him nowhere in Hollywood.

Matt Damon

Method actors go to extremes for their parts — and so do desperate actors. Matt Damon says he was so hungry for fame in the early part of his career that he took drastic measures to get into character — a move that nearly killed him and amounted to nothing.

“I watched all the movies I could and was desperate to be in them. I got jobs at 18 on films like Mystic Pizza, with just one line. It got me nowhere,” Damon told The Sun UK. “By the time I got a part in Courage Under Fire [in 1996], a desperation was setting in.”

“I had to be thin and went on an unsupervised diet which could have killed me. A doctor told me later I could have shrunk my heart permanently. I am 5 feet, 11 inches and went down to 135 pounds from my usual weight, between 173 and 176 pounds. It didn’t do me any good,” he said.

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In fact, Matt Damon didn’t find success until Good Will Hunting was released — and he and Ben Affleck hit it out of the park with that one.

“So Good Will Hunting came out of all those experiences and fantasies,” said the actor. “Imagine being able to sit in a library, turn pages and learn facts easily, as my character did. That was my sort of fantasy, when I was 18. To be in charge, charm women, have intelligent conversation. Ben Affleck and I put all that in the script.”

“The film changed my life. I suddenly had offers to work with great directors. After years of struggling, I had plenty. I hit a point in my late twenties when I was traveling and working non-stop. It took years before I felt like myself again.”

Now Damon is one of the highest-paid actors in the world — not bad for a kid who struggled for years to make it.

What’s up next for this talent? it was just announced that he will join Michael Douglas in a new Liberace biopic. Production on Behind the Candelabra begins in summer 2012.

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