The Secret Behind Ben & Matt
Do you know what the original screenplay for Good Will Hunting was about? The one that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon wrote together while they were struggling to get acting roles in Hollywood?
It was a political thriller about a smart mathematician who the U.S. Government uses to help decode a foreign government’s codes. And how when this foreign government gets wind of what’s going on, they send out agents to kill this collegiate mastermind. That was their movie. Filled with action sequences and silly dialogue.
When Affleck and Damon started getting good roles in movies, more studios became more interested in the screenplay because (in this town) it’s not how good your screenplay is that gets it made… It’s what the buzz is, who’s attached and what the poster will look like that gets people to sit up and take notice.
Eventually, when Castle Rock bought the script, they brought in their own favorite screenwriter (William Goldman — The Princess Bride, Misery, etc.) who people have said sat down with the two actors to help them develop the script some more. But others say that Goldman actually rewrote the script (which he often does for Castle Rock) and made it into the script it eventually turned into. No one’s talking, so we’ll never get the official answer on that one. But common knowledge in Hollywood is that those two did not write the movie you saw on screen. Makes you wonder why they haven’t written anything since.
A funny story: Affleck and Damon (I refuse to refer to them as Damon and Affleck, just to be different), were jerked around so much by Castle Rock in their rewrites, that the two decided to add a scene in the script where the Robin Williams character gives the Damon character a blow job. The two proved to themselves no one at Castle Rock was even reading their rewrites when they got no note on that particular scene. Eventually the deal lapsed at Castle Rock and Kevin Smith (Dogma, Clerks, Chasing Amy) brought the script to Harvey Weinstein at Miramax who bought the script, but with one caveat…
He told Affleck and Damon he would buy the script and make the movie as long as they took out “that damn blowjob scene.”
At least someone was finally reading their script. And paying attention to the words on the page instead of the properties attached to the page.