Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon Discuss Upcoming Film
Green Zone

With his straggly shoulder-length hair, director Paul Greengrass offers a neat visual contrast to the Hollywood looks of Matt Damon, the man who he describes as “the greatest movie star in the world.” Seated together to discuss their work together on Green Zone, the rapport that they’ve built from their work on the Bourne trilogy is immediately apparent.

In Green Zone, Damon plays Roy Miller, an officer sent deep within Iraq on the hunt for weapons of mass destruction. After intelligence repeatedly leads his team to dead ends, he sets out to discover the truth for himself. The character of Miller is based on the film’s military advisor Richard “Monty” Gonzales, who has since expressed discomfort about the perception of the film as being based on real events. Nonetheless, he provided Damon with inspiration.

“I asked him why he was participating in this experience,” recounts Damon. “And he said, ‘We’ve lost our moral authority.’ That was the first thing he said to me.”

“After The Bourne Supremacy, I wanted to do a film about 9/11 and a film about Iraq because they seemed to be the things that were guiding our world,” explains Greengrass. “Also, it seemed like those were the events that were driving the fear, paranoia and mistrust that was coursing around both the US and the UK in the wake of those events.”

“It seemed like such fertile ground to make a film about,” continues Damon. “Once we read Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s book [Imperial Life In The Emerald City], even though we didn’t know what the film was going to be, there was so much there that was really interesting.”

Both Damon and Greengrass agreed that reaching a mass audience was vital. “It’s important that cinema remains alive and engages directly with the world we live in,” affirms the director. “I’ve always believed in the possibility of good films in the mainstream, but you have to be offering a broad audience an identifiable experience that they can understand and that will offer them a rewarding cinematic experience.”

With visceral action abounding, Green Zone plays like a cerebral counterpoint to Bourne’s more fantastical thrills. As Greengrass summarises, “It’s a step into more difficult territory because it’s a real world. When people see this film they’ll be rewarded for taking that step, but also I think it will make people talk and that’s part of what popular cinema can do.”

Director: Paul Greengrass
DVD release: July 12th
Cert: 15



Words by Ben Hopkins


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