In hindsight, it’s kind of impressive that Matt Damon has never played a superhero. He broke out as a young actor at just the right time, hitting it big on the cusp of the one-two punch of X-Men and Spider-Man in the early 2000s. But the Oscar-winning screenwriter opted for a different route, one that saw him navigating dramas both forgettable (remember Legend of Bagger Vance?) and underrated (The Talented Mr. Ripley is astoundingly good).
Damon essentially created his own superhero with the Bourne franchise, a role he’s currently in the midst of returning to over a decade after the first film hit theaters, but it turns out he came closer to playing a superhero than some might think. Speaking with New York Daily News, Damon touched briefly on buddy Ben Affleck’s decision to play Batman and reveals that he actually turned down the lead role in 2003’s Daredevil before Affleck took the gig:
“I think he approached it the right way, which is, ‘Can I make a great superhero movie?’ rather than, ‘Do I want to play a superhero?’ I’d consider it if the right thing came along. For us it was always Daredevil — that’s the comic we read when we were kids. But when that one came along [in 2003] I chickened out, because I couldn’t tell. I hadn’t seen the director [Mark Steven Johnson‘s] work and I didn’t know. So I just said, ‘No.’ Ben was like, ‘I gotta do it.’ And the movie ended up doing very well, even though I don’t think Ben was ultimately very proud of it.”
It’s interesting to think what might have happened had Damon played Daredevil instead of Affleck. The film would’ve marked his Bourne Identity follow-up, and his sole 2003 output—Stuck on You—isn’t exactly a high point in his career. Nevertheless, he turned out just fine.
But now, in the post-Avengers era, does Damon still have a desire to play a superhero? As long as his Interstellar director Christopher Nolan is at the helm:
“If Chris Nolan came up to me and said, ‘I want to do Daredevil,’ I would be in. Just putting that out there.”
So it sounds like Damon is firmly in the “Team Warner Bros./DC” camp when it comes to superhero movies, though I don’t imagine Christopher Nolan is itching to wade back into the comic book waters anytime soon. But given Affleck’s close relationship with Warner Bros., it stands to reason that the studio has at one time or another reached out to Damon about potentially joining the DC universe—remember those Aquaman rumors?
In the end, though, Damon is most likely just having a bit of fun here. Don’t go crossing those fingers for him to star in a superhero movie anytime soon. And, honestly, I’m not sure I’d personally want him to. He’s amassed one of the most impressive resumes in history, working with nearly every top tier director still living today. I’d be exponentially more interested in seeing Damon work with David Fincher (one he hasn’t crossed off his list yet) or even direct something of his own than don a superhero suit.
What do you think, folks? Would you rather have seen Damon in Daredevil than Affleck? What would a Chris Nolan Daredevil movie even look like? Too close to Batman Begins territory? Sound off in the comments below.