Losing a role to Edward Norton was Matt Damon’s greatest blessing.
Held in high regard as one of the best actors of this generation, Matt Damon is known for taking an unconventional route to success. Thanks to his initial roles in the 1990s, the actor got the opportunity to showcase his capabilities and eventually earn the Oscar for his screenplay in Good Will Hunting.
But here’s a crazy story about the existence of the 1997 thriller/romance that served as Matt Damon’s breakout role. Apparently, Damon’s widespread acclaim and major awards for Good Will Hunting came because he lost his role as a teenage murder suspect in the 1996 thriller Primal Fear to Edward Norton.
Losing Primal Fear Gave Birth to Good Will Hunting
Exploring the entertainment industry during the early 90s, Matt Damon tried his luck and skills in different projects, like School Ties, Courage Under Fire, and Glory Daze. But unlike most Hollywood stars, Damon didn’t take the traditional route to stardom. Instead, he found his breakout role in the inspirational drama Good Will Hunting.
Matt Damon found his breakout role in Good Will Hunting (1997)
Writing the screenplay for the 1997 movie alongside his childhood friend Ben Affleck, Matt Damon established himself as a renowned star. The film later earned widespread acclaim and even won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. But apparently, Good Will Hunting would have never happened if not for Primal Fear.
Good Will Hunting would have never happened if it wasn’t for Primal Fear (1996)
According to Collider, Primal Fear featured a star-studded cast, and therefore, Matt Damon was desperate to earn a role in the 1996 thriller. Starring alongside veteran performers was a major opportunity for any young actor like Damon. And certainly, The Martian actor, as well as Ben Affleck, became obsessed about landing a role in the film. Unfortunately, neither of them were able to grab the opportunity.
Matt Damon Lost His 1996 Role to Edward Norton
During Matt Damon’s interview with Sam Jones, the actor recalled the time when he was desperate to appear in Primal Fear. The actor revealed that his intentions were so adamant that he even hired a dialect coach to master Aarons’ vocal shifts. He then revealed that even Ben Affleck believed, “whoever got that role was gonna blow up”.
Damon lost his Primal Fear role to Edward Norton
Therefore, dedicating himself to the role of the teenage murder suspect, Matt Damon poured his extensive work into the audition. However, he lost the opportunity to Edward Norton. Damon revealed that he was so devastated after losing the role that he changed his approach towards his career. But certainly, losing the role to Norton served as a blessing in disguise for Damon.
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck channeled their talents towards Good Will Hunting
After losing the role and changing his approach, the actor channeled his talents towards Good Will Hunting alongside his childhood friend Ben Affleck. Drawing upon their childhood experiences growing up in Boston, Damon and Affleck centered their film around the mathematics genius Will Hunting, who will unleash his potential by working his way through trauma and struggle.
The duo then sold their script to Harvey Weinstein, who proceeded with the film, starring both Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Good Will Hunting, featuring Robin Williams, eventually became a surprise hit in 1997, which cemented Damon and Affleck in Hollywood.