Matt Damon is a dependable box-office draw -- especially if he's a film with "Bourne" in the title -- but he wasn't always a hitmaker. Following Damon's breakout success with "Good Will Hunting," he experienced a dip in ticket sales that caused many in Hollywood to slowly back away from the actor.
"I had a couple movies that didn't work, and some of them had big enough budgets that people care, and so basically my phone just stopped ringing," Damon said during a roundtable of great actors (Denzel Washington, John Hawkes, Jamie Foxx, Richard Gere and Alan Arkin also participated) set up by THR. Damon said he went to London to act in a Kenneth Lonergan play before he was let out of Hollywood jail. "'The Bourne Identity' opened and everybody was my friend again."
As Damon noted, however, his dry spell wasn't all that dry. In the period between "Good Will Hunting" and "The Bourne Identity," Damon had a small role in "Saving Private Ryan" ($481 million worldwide), co-starred in the cult film "Rounders" (which finally reached profit years after its release), played an angel in Kevin Smith's "Dogma" (which, at the time, was Smith's biggest success to date), led "The Talented Mr. Ripley" ($128 million worldwide) and was a supporting player in "Ocean's 11" ($450 million worldwide). The two films Damon is likely referring to as not working are "All the Pretty Horses," which made just $18 million worldwide on a $57 million budget and "The Legend of Bagger Vance" with Will Smith. That film, from director Robert Redford, grossed just $39 million worldwide on an $80 million budget.
For more on Damon's career, including why he didn't want to appear in another "Bourne" film, watch the video above.