Based on one of the most critically acclaimed novels of the past few years, The Martian finds Matt Damon leading an all-star cast under the eye of acclaimed director Ridley Scott. Drawing comparisons to the likes of Gravity, we’re expecting big things from this blockbuster, but no matter the size of the budget or the content of the story, if Matt Damon’s involved, then we’re invariably VERY interested to see what he’s up to next. Time to give the CV of one of Hollywood’s most likeable movie stars the quick once-over!


After bagging some bit parts in the likes of Mystic Pizza and Field Of Dreams, most of us actually got our introduction to Damon as a damaged soldier in 1996’s Courage Under Fire. From there, everything just kind of blew up; taking the lead in John Grisham adaptation The Rainmaker, the titular soldier in Spielberg’s war epic Saving Private Ryan, playing an avenging angel for Kevin Smith in Dogma, as well as a sociopathic killer in The Talented Mr. Ripley. In the midst of all this, he also won the Oscar for co-writing the screenplay for Good Will Hunting with his co-star and BFF Ben Affleck.


A few underperformers followed his killer opening streak – gambling thriller Rounders, period golf drama The Legend Of Bagger Vance, romantic western All The Pretty Horses, ambitious animation failure Titan A.E. – but the early ‘00s brought two massive trilogies that helped cement his Hollywood legend. Joining Clooney and Pitt for the Ocean’s Eleven series as a self-conscious sad-sack was a masterstroke of counter-programming as he blossomed into a fully-fledged ass-kicker as amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne, and both franchises have had a massive impact on both the con-caper and super-spy sub-genres, respectively.


On top of the Good Will Hunting script, Damon also co-wrote the scripts for 2002’s weird indie-comedy Gerry as well as 2012’s pollution drama Promised Land, both to lesser reactions. In front of the camera, he’s been involved with some Oscar magnets such as The Departed, Syriana, The Good Shepherd, Green Zone and True Grit. To date, he’s been nominated twice for acting Oscars; one for Best Actor for Good Will Hunting, and one for Best Supporting Actor for Invictus. Sandra Bullock received an acting nomination for Gravity, so could Damon do similarly and prove third times a charm?


To most people, the funniest Matt Damon has ever been was when he was a puppet in Team America, finding it difficult to say his own name. However, Damon is actually an accomplished comedian, playing a Siamese twin in Stuck On You, a heavy rocker in EuroTrip, and bringing the funnies as well as the pathos to Behind The Candelabra. He also popped up as a faking-it-gay choir singer in Will & Grace, a several-episode boyfriend to Liz Lemon on 30 Rock, and the constant butt of the joke on The Jimmy Kimmel Show. “They’re f***ing Matt Damon!”


In the last few years, it’s clear that Damon has a new passion for the science fiction genre. 2011 paired him with Emily Blunt for romantic-thriller The Adjustment Bureau which dealt with the controlling of fate, while the based-on-possibility virus-horror Contagion gave us all a grim look into the world being brought to it’s knees. Then in 2013, we had director Neil Blomkamp’s follow up to District 9 with class-warfare actioner Elysium, as well as a bit part Terry Gilliam’s fantasy-drama The Zero Theorem. Only last year we found Damon had been marooned in space on a distant planet in Interstellar, something he’ll be repeating for The Martian!


The Great Wall is due for release Late 2016, dealing with a mystery around that famous Chinese wall, from the director of Hero and House Of Flying Daggers, the writers of World War Z and the Bourne movies, and the producers of Godzilla, Inception and The Dark Knight Rises. With Damon in the lead role, expect lots of Oscar talk. There’s also the untitled Bourne sequel which sees Damon reuniting with Supremacy/Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass, and a cast that now includes Tommy Lee Jones, so-hot-right-now Alicia Vikanders and a rumoured Viggo Mortensen. And finally (for now), 2017 sees Damon team up with the director of Sideways and Election for his latest film Downsizing, which tells the story of a man who realises his life would be better if he were to shrink himself. It’s not going to quite be Ant-Man, more of a social satire with Alec Baldwin, Reece Witherspoon and Neil Patrick Harris filling out to the cast-list.

Words : Rory Cashin

THE MARTIAN is now showing in cinemas