Matt Damon's role in $100M Denzel Washington film forced him to 'go on medication' to cope mentally
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Matt Damon went through many hardships for his leading part in the 1996 film 'Courage Under Fire'. It took a heavy toll, both physically and mentally, to play his character in the way that he did. For Damon at the time, 'Courage Under Fire' was a pivotal movie. Damon portrayed a devastated former soldier and nurse who had been through the horrors of combat.
In the film, Damon's character turned to narcotics, which subsequently caused acute addiction. The actor was prepared to go above and above for the part, even if it meant shedding 40 pounds to look as thin as his character.
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'I started eating four or five chocolate cakes, twelve beers....'
However, shedding so much weight and so rapidly does have long-term bodily effects. After the movie had finished its production, Damon began overeating. In a recently-revealed conversation with Film Scout, Damon said, "Literally, the day after I shot the scene with Denzel Washington walking on the lake, I started eating four or five chocolate cakes, twelve beers, four steaks, tons of pasta. And my stomach expanded." This rapid change in diet from near-starvation to overindulging in food, the star of 'The Bourne Identity' became ill. He then required ongoing care for a number of medical and mental ailments, as reported by Showbizcheatsheet.
Damon said, "I had to go on medication, for dizziness, lightheadedness, stress, post-traumatic stress disorder… I've been off the medication for a couple of weeks now – after two years," Damon added, "That taught me a lot about what I can and can't do, what I should and shouldn't do."
'I got jobs at 18 on films like Mystic Pizza, with just one line'
Damon's ambition to establish himself was one of his driving forces behind his 'Courage Under Fire' acting style. At the time, he wasn't receiving the kinds of parts he desired. Damon once told The Irish Independent, "I got jobs at 18 on films like Mystic Pizza, with just one line. It got me nowhere." But when Damon got the chance to show viewers his acting chops in 'Courage Under Fire', he didn't hold back. He acknowledged that the character might not have been as significant as his earlier appearances, but despite having less on-screen time, he still managed to make an impact.
'I was sick of reading scripts that Chris O'Donnell had passed on'
He once told Vanity Fair, "I thought, 'nobody will take this role, because it's too small'. I was sick of reading scripts that Chris O'Donnell had passed on, and I was looking for something to set me apart: 'Look what I'll do, I'll kill myself!' Directors took note of it."
Based on his performance in 'Courage Under Fire', Francis Ford Coppola eventually hired Damon for 'The Rainmaker'. From that point on, Damon's career saw consistent growth. Damon used a modest diet strategy to lose weight. However, not even his dietician appeared to think that the 'School Ties' actor would stick with his new exercise routine. Others were concerned about the actor when he did so, but he wouldn't compromise his weight loss objectives.
Damon said, "It evolved essentially because there was a light at the end of the tunnel." He recalled. "There was a time limit. Given that, the person that outlined the diet for me didn't think I was going to be able to stick to it: it was too difficult. When I stuck to it, people got worried. 'You have to eat, you have to be fit, you really have to be prepared.' And I refused to do so. 'Why eat? I've come this far, I'm not going to stop now," as reported by Showbizcheatsheet.