Matt Damon Talks Connecting With US Oil Workers for New Movie: ‘What Binds Us Is So Much Greater’

by John Jamison

Matt Damon’s new movie “Stillwater” finds him playing Oklahoma roughneck Bill Baker. Released on Monday, the movie follows Baker as he ventures abroad to help exonerate his daughter of murder charges leveled against her.

When a movie is done right, those involved with making it take the time to nail down the details. For Matt Damon and “Stillwater” director Tom McCarthy, that meant spending some time in the Sooner State. But their research trip came during one of the most divisive times in recent memory. The pair headed to OK shortly after the 2016 election.

And would you believe it? The unthinkable happened. At least, that’s how much of the media would choose to describe what went down. In reality, it was just two guys who wanted to make a movie having a good time with people the movie sought to depict.

Two members of the Hollywood elite and a group of Oklahoma roughnecks managed to put their differences aside. And what do you know? They all came away with a better understanding of just how similar we all are as humans.

“Every time I do one of those research trips, I come away feeling like what binds us is so much greater than what divides us and it was kind of at the height of political divisions in this country, two years ago, when we went down there and we just had the best time,” Damon told The Hollywood Reporter.

Matt Damon and Tom McCarthy Looked at Life Through a Different Lens

It seems like common sense. But if you want to understand why people behave the way they do, try to see things from their perspective. Of course, that’s much easier said than done. But Matt Damon and Tom McCarthy took the time to literally put themselves in the positions of oil workers from Oklahoma.

“Just having that kind of access and watching people live helps me understand why people make the decisions they make and it helps me play the character I’m playing. And I feel like if more of us could do that, we wouldn’t believe the media as much when they tell us how different we all are,” Damon continued in the interview.

Now, obviously, Matt Damon and Tom McCarthy didn’t travel down to Oklahoma from New York to become well-rounded people. They did it for the sake of the movie. Yet, they still came away with more than they needed. In fact, McCarthy made himself a good friend with whom he spent time recently.

“What it really speaks to is how similar we all are. And, unfortunately, I think politics divide us and that’s a shame because there’s so much to celebrate and be proud of in this country, and we spend too much time pointing fingers,” McCarthy told The Hollywood Reporter.