In a new interview with Yahoo news, liberal actor Matt Damon said the experience of playing a conservative red state oil rig worker made him realize “there’s so much more common ground than we think.”
“When Tom McCarthy and I got down there, [the roughnecks] were justifiably wary of us,” Damon said. ‘Y’all are making a movie about a roughneck. What are you doing? Are you gonna make fun of us? What’s your game here?’ And when they realized what we were doing, the angle that we took, and the empathy that the film has for Bill, they really gave us incredible access to their lives and really helped us. I mean this portrayal is entirely possible because of the access that those guys gave me.”
“And help everybody better understand,” he continued. “And also it’s a great reminder for me just in researching this and going down to Oklahoma and hanging with these roughnecks that I always leave those research trips kind of angry at politicians for stoking those divides as much as they do. The things that bind us are so much greater than the things that divide us and I really feel that in a profound way every time. And I’m lucky that my job allows to go kind of parachute into other peoples’ lives and they give me access.
“Just going down and talking and hanging out with them changes [your perspective]. It always helps … talking to each other helps, rather than staying in an echo chamber and talking to people we agree with. There’s so much more common ground than we think,” he added.
In a previous interview with Variety, Damon said his experience playing a Trump supporting oil worker was eye opening.
In the movie, a woman asks Damon’s character, Bill Baker if he voted for Trump, he says he did not, but only because a felony kept him from voting at all.
Damon said Backer definitely would have voted for Trump.
“These guys don’t apologize for who they are,” Damon said, referring affectionately to his character as a “roughneck.”
Damon said he spent time with real oil workers who inspired the role in preparation for the role.
“They’re in the oil business, of course he voted for Trump,” Damon said. “These people were wonderful to us, they really helped us. It was eye-opening for me.”
“They all have goatees, the sunglasses. They’re not six-pack ab guys, but they’re strong. You go to their barbecues and a guitar comes out and they start singing Church songs,” he added.