Birth Name: Matthew Paige Damon
Birth Date: October 8, 1970
Birth Place: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Matt Damon has been honored for his work on both sides of the camera, most recently earning Academy Award® and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award nominations, for Best Supporting Actor, for his portrayal of South African rugby hero Francois Pienaar in Clint Eastwood’s true-life drama Invictus.
In addition, he garnered dual Golden Globe Award nominations in 2010: for Best Supporting Actor for Invictus; and for Best Actor for his performance in Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant! Earlier in his career, Damon won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay and received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, both for his breakthrough feature Good Will Hunting.
Earlier this year, Damon starred in director Steven Soderbergh’s thriller Contagion; in Kenneth Lonergan’s drama Margaret. He also lends his voice to the animated feature Happy Feet Two, directed by George Miller.
Earlier this year, Damon starred in George Nolfi’s thriller The Adjustment Bureau. In 2010, he starred in the Coen brothers’ Oscar-nominated remake of the classic Western True Grit, Clint Eastwood’s drama Hereafter, and the action thriller Green Zone for director Paul Greengrass.
He had previously starred under Greengrass’s direction in The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. Damon originated the title role of Jason Bourne in Doug Liman’s 2002 action blockbuster The Bourne Identity.
His other recent film credits include Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning Best Picture The Departed, with Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson and Mark Wahlberg; Robert De Niro’s dramatic thriller The Good Shepherd, with De Niro and Angelina Jolie; and Stephen Gaghan’s geopolitical thriller Syriana, with George Clooney. Damon also teamed with Clooney and Brad Pitt as part of the all-star casts of Soderbergh’s heist comedy hit Ocean’s Eleven, and its sequels, Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen.
For the small screen, Damon both executive produced and appeared in the History Channel project The People Speak, based on a book co-written by historian Howard Zinn and featuring dramatic readings and performances from some of the most famous names in the entertainment industry.
Hailing from Boston, Damon attended Harvard University and gained his first acting experience with the American Repertory Theatre. He made his feature film debut in Mystic Pizza, followed by roles in School Ties, Walter Hill’s Geronimo: An American Legend, and the cable projects Rising Son and Tommy Lee Jones’ The Good Old Boys. Damon first gained attention with his portrayal of a guilt-ridden Gulf War veteran in 1996’s Courage Under Fire.
Together with his lifelong friend Ben Affleck, Damon co-wrote the acclaimed 1997 drama Good Will Hunting, for which they won an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award, as well as several critics groups awards for Best Original Screenplay. Damon also garnered Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations, in addition to his Oscar nomination, for Best Actor. Additionally in 1997, Damon starred in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Rainmaker and appeared in Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy.
The following year, Damon played the title role in Steven Spielberg’s award-winning World War II drama Saving Private Ryan, and also starred in John Dahl’s drama Rounders, with Edward Norton. Damon earned his third Golden Globe nomination for his performance in 1999’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, directed by Anthony Minghella. Damon’s subsequent film credits include Kevin Smith’s Dogma, with Affleck, Robert Redford’s The Legend of Bagger Vance, Billy Bob Thornton’s All the Pretty Horses, the Farrelly brothers’ comedy Stuck on You, Terry Gilliam’s The Brothers Grimm, and George Clooney’s Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.
Damon and Affleck formed the production company LivePlanet, which produced three Emmy-nominated seasons of Project Greenlight, chronicling the making of independent films by first-time writers and directors. The Project Greenlight films produced include Stolen Summer, The Battle of Shaker Heights and Feast. LivePlanet also produced the documentary Running the Sahara, directed by Oscar winner James Moll. In addition, Damon is the co-founder of Water.org and a founder of Not On Our Watch.
Birth Name: David Jude Law
Birth Date: December 29, 1972
Birth Place: Lewisham, London, England, UK
Jude Law is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed actor with a wealth of widely varied film and theatre roles to his credit.
Earlier in 2011, Law joined an all-star ensemble cast in Steven Soderbergh’s hit thriller “Contagion.” He is currently starring in the Martin Scorsese-directed fantasy “Hugo,” based on the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Law’s upcoming films include Fernando Meirelles’s “360,” with Rachel Weisz and Anthony Hopkins, and “Anna Karenina,” directed by Joe Wright from a screenplay by Tom Stoppard, based on the classic Tolstoy novel. He is also lending his voice to the animated feature “Rise of the Guardians.”
On the stage, Law recently earned Tony Award and Drama Desk Award nominations and won a Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for his performance in the 2009 Broadway revival of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” having first played the role in the Donmar Warehouse production in London’s West End. He just completed a starring role in the West End revival of Eugene O’Neill’s “Anna Christie.”
Law first drew major critical attention for his performance as Oscar Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, in the 1997 feature “Wilde,” for which he won an Evening Standard British Film Award. He went on to gain international acclaim for his work in Anthony Minghella’s 1999 hit “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” Law’s portrayal of the doomed golden boy Dickie Greenleaf brought him both Oscar® and Golden Globe nominations, as well as a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor.
He later garnered Oscar®, Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations, for Best Actor in a Leading Role, for his performance in Minghella’s 2003 Civil War epic “Cold Mountain.” Among his other acting honors, Law received a Golden Globe nomination for his role in Steven Spielberg’s “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” won a National Board of Review Award as a member of the ensemble cast of Mike Nichols’ drama “Closer,” and shared in a Screen Actors Guild Award® nomination for Best Motion Picture Cast Performance for his role in Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator.”
Law has also starred in and produced Kenneth Branagh’s “Sleuth,” opposite Michael Caine, and “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.” His wide range of film credits also includes Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus”; Nancy Meyers’ romantic comedy hit “The Holiday,” with Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet and Jack Black; Anthony Minghella’s “Breaking and Entering,”; the title role in Charles Shyer’s “Alfie”; Sam Mendes’ “Road to Perdition,” with Tom Hanks and Paul Newman; Jean-Jacques Annaud’s “Enemy at the Gates”; David Cronenberg’s “eXistenZ”; Clint Eastwood’s “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”; and “Gattaca,” which marked his American film debut.
Law began his career on the stage, acting with the National Youth Theatre at the age of 12. In 1994, he created the role of Michael in Jean Cocteau’s play “Les Parents Terribles,” for which he was nominated for the Ian Charleson Award for Outstanding Newcomer. The play was renamed “Indiscretions” when it moved to Broadway, where Law received a Tony Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor. His subsequent stage work includes “`Tis Pity She’s a Whore,” at London’s Young Vic Theatre, and a highly acclaimed performance in the title role of Christopher Marlowe’s “Dr. Faustus,” both directed by David Lan.
In 2007, the French Academy awarded Law a César d’Honneur in recognition of his contribution to cinema, and the government of France named him a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for his artistic achievements.
The thriller starring Matt Damon knocks “The Help” out of first place for the first time in three weeks.
“Contagion” infected enough moviegoers to catch the top spot at the box office. The Warner Bros. pandemic thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring an A-list cast that includes Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow coughed up $23.1 million in its first weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The film’s contagious opening marked the beginning of the fall movie season by exceeding the studio’s estimates. “I think Steven Soderbergh made a compelling movie that tapped into that fear that many of us have about illnesses, viruses and pandemics,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. general sales manager. “It’s like a train or car accident. You can’t look away. You prefer not to think about it, but when it’s presented to you, you want to learn more.”
Despite the breakout success of “Contagion,” it was the lowest grossing weekend of the year so far for the film industry, according to Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com. Dergarabedian said that’s typical for the weekend after Labor Day and expected business to pick up in the coming weeks as the Academy Awards race begins.
“There are some great titles that are on the way,” said Dergarabedian. “I see several promising films — Oscar contenders like “50/5/” ‘The Descendants’ and ‘Ides of March,’ and even potential big moneymakers like “Real Steel”
“The Help” the acclaimed DreamWorks Pictures drama distributed by Disney about black Southern maids speaking out during the civil-rights movement, slipped to No. 2 with $8.7 million after three straight weeks at the top, bringing its domestic total to $137 million.
“Warrior,” the Lionsgate mixed-martial arts drama starring Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton, punched up a $5.6 million debut in the No. 3 position. David Spitz, head of distribution for Lionsgate, said he expects <“Warrior” to mirror the simmering success of “The Help.”
“The film has gotten unbelievable reviews,” said Spitz. “The audience reaction we’re getting on the movie is consistent. People like the film. It’s a slow burn. We think we’re going to be in theaters for a long time.”
Nothing spreads like fear.
Contagion follows the rapid progress of a lethal airborne virus that kills within days. As the fast-moving epidemic grows, the worldwide medical community races to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself. At the same time, ordinary people struggle to survive in a society coming apart.
Contagion is directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Scott Z. Burns. The project was announced in February 2010 with the news that Matt Damon and Jude Law were cast in Contagion in their first collaboration since The Talented Mr. Ripley in 1999. Kate Winslet and Marion Cotillard joined the cast later in the month. Sodebergh received cooperation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and also worked with a group of scientific advisers for the film.
While the international medical community searches for a cure, confrontational freelance journalist Alan Krumwiede pursues an agenda of his own. Combining a genuine reporter’s instinct with a pathological distrust of all things official and a flair for the dramatic, he commits his popular blog to exposing the truth about the growing epidemic…as he sees it.
“His demand for the truth could be seen as heroic,” says Jude Law, starring as the man who claims—among other things—that there are more deaths than are being reported, and possibly an alternative cure being suppressed. “He believes people have a right to know and that information should be shared, especially when it’s something on this scale, and he was the first to break the story of a man dying on a Tokyo bus, who turned out to be one of the virus’ first victims. He has the courage of his convictions but his pride and ego often get in the way. He casts too broad a net for his stories and doesn’t always care about the repercussions of what he puts out there.”
“Krumwiede is not always wrong,” Soderbergh points out. But neither is he always right. And what he broadcasts takes on a life of its own as people desperate for answers turn to his blog. As the disease continues to proliferate, so does his subscriber base, from modest beginnings to 2 million, then 12 million people. “There are always conspiracy theories that percolate around significant events,” says Burns. “And just as a virus begins with one person and spreads, Krumwiede becomes the ‘index patient’ for what becomes a parallel epidemic of fear and panic.”
In developing the complex and undeniably charismatic character, Soderbergh recounts, “Jude and I talked about bloggers who take an anti-government, conspiracy theory approach—what they sound like, what they look like, and how they behave. We definitely wanted him to have a messianic streak.”
“What’s interesting is that you’re not really sure about him,” says Jacobs. “Is the government really hiding something and does the herbal remedy he’s talking about really work? I think we all suspect at one time or another that we’re not getting the whole truth, and in that sense Krumwiede represents the audience’s point of view.” “But,” Law confirms, “ultimately, he crosses the line.”
Representing one of Krumwiede’s prime targets is Elliott Gould, re-teaming with Soderbergh and his three-time “Ocean’s” co-star Matt Damon, as Dr. Ian Sussman, a San Francisco-based medical researcher working independently on a possible vaccine—against CDC orders. Monique Gabriela Curnen (“The Dark Knight”) also appears as a newspaper editor, Lorraine Vasquez, who dismisses Krumwiede’s bid for an exclusive just before the contagion breaks.
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, Jennifer Ehle, Anna Jacoby-Heron, Josie Ho, Sanaa Lathan
Screenplay by: Scott Z. Burns
Production Design by: Howard Cummings
Cinematography by: Steven Soderbergh
Film Editing by: Stephen Mirrione
Costume Design by: Louise Frogley
Set Decoration by: Cindy Carr
Art Direction by: Abdellah Baadil, Simon Dobbin, David Lazan
Music by: Cliff Martinez
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for disturbing content and some language.
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: September 9, 2011
Related Link: View Full Production Notes for Contagion Movie