Promised Land's Matt Damon talks odd jobs before big break

Dec 28, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. ET

Matt Damon co-wrote and stars in Promised Land, a story about the ongoing controversy surrounding renewable energy. We chatted with Damon about the gig, and what he did to make ends meet before making it big.

Matt Damon, Promised Land

Before Matt Damon was “Matt Damon,” he took some odd jobs to get by.

“I had to sell women’s dance shoes one summer,” the A-list actor told SheKnows. Damon, who has moved so far beyond pushing heels, is now the co-writer and star of the upcoming environmental drama Promised Land.

In addition to weighing the pros and cons of a process to extract natural gas, known as “fracking,” the movie also explores the plight of the average American and what people are willing to sacrifice to make money. Damon co-wrote the movie with his friend and fellow actor, John Krasinski.

“The entire experience with John was great,” said Damon. “Writing with him, he’s just so talented. I try to keep a straight face when I’m acting opposite him.”

This isn’t Damon’s first shot at writing, though. The actor won an Oscar in 1997 for his script Good Will Hunting, which he co-wrote with buddy Ben Affleck. So we wondered, is Ben a little jealous of Matt’s new bromance with Krasinski?

“I think John is just using me to get to Ben because Ben is now like the most powerful director in Hollywood,” Damon laughed.

Damon and Affleck have both come a long way from their Massachusetts roots. He revealed to us that before the two “made it” with their Oscar-winning screenplay, they had at least one major letdown.

“In the summer of 1988 Ben and I had both been really close on Dead Poets Society,” said Damon. “We both had been called back. Neither of us, needless to say, got the job. But we ended up working in the theater in our hometown that played one movie the entire summer, which was Dead Poets Society. So we had to sit there and tear tickets and sell popcorn. That was really like salt in a wound for an entire summer.”

Still, with all his money and success, Damon has not let fame go to his head. The down-to-earth actor told us that all he wants for Christmas this year is to have his whole family together. And he and wife Luciana are raising their kids with the same humble values.

“Oftentimes we’ll open a bunch of gifts and [the kids] forget about them,” he told SheKnows. “They just like opening gifts. My wife will see it and she’ll set it aside and we donate them all later to other kids who will appreciate them a little more.”


Be sure to catch Matt Damon in Promised Land, in theaters today!

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