Actor tells MTV News he 'wouldn't have done' the film unless Crowe signed on.
By Kara Warner, with reporting by Josh Horowitz
Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson and Cameron Crowe on the set of "We Bought A Zoo"
Photo: 20th Century Fox
Cameron Crowe is one of those Hollywood directors whose body of work and reputation as a filmmaker has long had actors and studios alike lining up to work with him. Crowe's impressive filmography includes cinema staples like "Say Anything," "Almost Famous" and "Jerry Maguire," and he's aiming to add to that illustrious list with "We Bought a Zoo," starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson.
When MTV News caught up with Damon recently to discuss "Zoo" (opening in wide release on Friday), we first had to touch on which Crowe classic is his favorite ... since everyone has one.
" 'Jerry Maguire' for me," Damon told us. "I love that movie and I just love Tom Cruise's performance. All the performances are great but Cruise really anchors that thing so beautifully. It's just so hard to do what he does, and he just does it really really well in that movie."
Speaking to the premise of "Zoo" (based on a true story and book of the same name), Damon said that Crowe is the only director he trusted to tell the story without venturing into schmaltzy territory."Without the Cameron Crowe input, I wouldn't have done it. It does feel like the kind of 'attendant pieces' are so highly combustible that you don't really want to mess with it, but it's a director's medium and, ultimately, the director is going to set the tone," Damon explained. "They're the arbiter of taste at the end of the day, so if you trust the director, you can pretty much go with any type of material. So that's why I rolled the dice on this one was really because of Cameron."
In the film Damon plays a widower struggling to keep his family together, so we wondered who the better father is: Damon's character, Benjamin, or Damon in real life?
"I think they're both pretty good actually," he said with a smile. "I do my best in real life and I think this guy trying his best. One of the things I really related to about the movie and the character is that he's desperately trying to do his best as a dad, which leads him to do this kind of incredibly desperate thing."
Check out everything we've got on "We Bought a Zoo."
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