Nineteen years after the release of Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck reunited on Friday night to perform a live-reading of the Oscar-winning film’s shooting script.
Part of the Live Read New York performance series, the Good Will Hunting recreation was spearheaded by guest director John Krasinski, who kept his cast for the event mostly secret in the lead-up to Friday, only announcing Emily Blunt, his wife, would have a featured role. (She starred as Skylar, who was originally played in the film by Minnie Driver.)
But Krasinski waited until the veritable last minute to let attendees know about the reunion. After revealing the rest of the cast — including Margo Martindale in Robin Williams’ Oscar-winning role of Sean Maguire and Hamilton star Daveed Diggs as Casey Affleck’s Morgan — Krasinski announced he would play Will Hunting, until Damon interrupted from off-stage to take his place.
Krasinski acquiesced, instead moving down the row to sit in Chuckie’s seat, the character Affleck played. But after one line reading, Affleck himself stopped the performance and pushed Krasinski to the role of narrator and stage director. The show restarted, with Krasinski joking, it would “begin again as my 16-year-old self cries inside.”
Released in 1997, the Good Will Hunting fans have come to love is slightly different from the film’s shooting script, which is what was read on Friday night. Affleck’s Chuckie has a handful of extra scenes — including one where Skylar comes to his mother’s house to discuss Will — and some of the film’s most famous lines don’t appear on account of improvisation by the actors themselves. Notably absent from the shooting script is Williams’ film capper: “Son of a bitch, he stole my line.” But as the show came to an end, Damon nodded at Martindale who recited the dialogue as the lights fell dark.
Check out photos from the Live Read New York event — which also featured Keegan-Michael Key, Tom McCarthy, Dave Shalansky, and Harvey Weinstein himself — below. Live Read NY is presented by Film Independent and The New York Times.