PASADENA, Calif. — How does Matt Damon make reciting the Declaration of Independence exciting?
"You just read it," says the actor-writer-producer. "Seriously. It is an incredible document. I think people either forget about it or have been taught it too early in their lives. It's a document worth reading and rereading every single year because it's the principles in that document that we should be loyal to and fight for and struggle for, rather than whichever government is in power."
"The Bourne Ultimatum" star reads the declaration in "The People Speak," an upcoming History Channel movie co-executive produced by Damon and based on Howard Zinn's book, "A People's History of the United States." Joining Damon in reading letters, speeches and text from famous and not-so famous Americans are such stars as Josh Brolin, Viggo Mortensen, Morgan Freeman and Marisa Tomei.
"The material is inherently dramatic," says Tomei, who recited the words of factory worker Harriet Hanson Robinson at a 2003 celebration of the millionth copy of Zinn's book sold and in the documentary. "You don't have to wonder, 'How am I going to rephrase that?' or 'How am I going to make it through this scene?' It's all right there for you in the words of these impassioned people."
One political topic Damon is avoiding is Sarah Palin. Damon drew headlines last September when he told The Associated Press during an interview that the Republican vice presidential candidacy was like "a bad Disney movie." He said he had "no idea" what Palin would do now that she has stepped down as Alaska's governor. He joked that he's still in shock about the attention his remarks received.
"I couldn't believe it," said Damon. "Certainly, that whole campaign was a next-generation campaign in the sense that YouTube and all these different things existed that weren't really around in 2004. Campaigning is different now than it was a couple of cycles ago. I think that little interview was a small part of that."
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