Nothing compares to you, Ireland.
hat was the warm message from Hollywood star Matt Damon when he took part in a video link interview with economist and broadcaster David McWilliams this evening as part of the Dalkey Book Festival 2021.
Speaking from Byron Bay in Australia where he is currently filming Thor: Love and Thunder, the American actor was asked how Ireland compares with Australia and he responded: “There’s no comparison, man, we love it there so much.”
“One of my daughters said to me the other other, just out of the blue ‘you know, I could live in Ireland’.”
He vowed to return with his family, including his wife of 18 years Luciana Barrosa and the couple’s four daughters who spent three months living in Dalkey during the first lockdown last March when he was in Ireland to film director Ridley Scott’s new film The Last Duel. He returned to finish filming before the second lockdown.
And next time the family is here they plan to take a road trip around the country in a caravan.
He said they all loved the seaside town on Dalkey and his family felt at home there.
“We just felt comfortable there. The town is so beautiful and we’re just walking up Killiney Hill, walking over to Mugs (café) and getting coffee.
“It was just the best. I even got a pint at Finnegan’s before they shut. Like the day before the lockdown, I went over and had one pint so and then it was closed literally the rest of the six months that I was there. But Luci and I did get one pint there.”
He vowed to return here next year after promising his family they would do some long-awaited sightseeing that they were unable to do during the lockdowns.
“We did make a deal both times we left Ireland saying we’ll come back and finish the movie and then we’ll get to travel.
“We had a plan to take a caravan all around the country. We had all these grand plans and then the second time it was straight into lockdown again and then we had to leave again.
“So we made a bargain with the kids that when this all ends we’re going back and we’re gonna do our trip.
He also spoke warmly of the late actor and comedian Robin Williams who took his own life at the age of 63 in 2014. An autopsy revealed he had been suffering from dementia.
He met Williams when the late actor starred in the 1997 film Good Will Hunting which Damon said was his breakthrough in Hollywood after he and fellow actor Ben Affleck wrote the screenplay, with the proviso that they both appeared in the film.
“It was the most magnificent, beautiful brain. He was so creative and fast. He was such a great actor,” he said of Williams.
He also spoke of his long struggle as an actor before he became famous and how he and Affleck worked at a cinema in his hometown of Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the cinema ironically screened Dead Poets Society which both actors had auditioned for but were turned down. “It was basically just a series of really humiliating rejections,” he said.