By Dalton Ross
June 20, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Ben Affleck and Matt Damon may be the big names, but it was fellow executive producer Chris Moore who was the real breakout star in the first season of HBO’s reality filmmaking contest, Project Greenlight. When Moore wasn’t barking at the hapless winner/novice director Pete Jones, he was busy firing (and then rehiring) underling Jeff Balis. (He was also the subject of the Affleck-inspired ”Chris Moore Challenge,” in which 2,500 fans sent in clips imitating his ranting.) With Project’s second season getting the green light on June 22, we caught up with the oft pissed-off producer…and prayed he wouldn’t yell at us. — Dalton Ross

Be honest: What did you think of Pete Jones’ Stolen Summer as a finished product?

I’m still a big fan of Stolen Summer. We thought it would do well, and it didn’t. We went to Sundance, and it was a big hit there. But then we went out to theaters, and it was a disaster.

What’s it like to fire someone — over the phone and on camera?

Well, it sucked. I didn’t really want to do it, but the truth of the matter is I told people we would do everything on camera, so I had to do it that way.

Can we expect more cringeworthy conflict this season?

You certainly can look forward to a lot of tension. There are more problems with casting and the scriptwriting because we have both a writer and a director. Also, we had some actors who just didn’t want to be in the movie because they didn’t want to be in the show. It’s the stuff you love.

You have movies like Good Will Hunting and American Pie on your resume, so how does it feel to be recognized as the Yelling Guy from Project Greenlight?

It sucks. I’m not in the show playing a character. I’m just being myself, so when people look at it and think I’m an asshole, that sucks! I was with Ben recently, and someone came up to us and they just wanted my autograph. And Ben, of course, thought that was hilarious.

Speaking of Affleck, how irritating is it to have the ”sexiest man alive” constantly impersonating you?

It’s not that fun. And we’re certainly not gonna do the Chris Moore imitation contest again. But he still breaks into it, and so does everybody else. My girlfriend says the impression sounds like an old, drunk black man. Maybe in my soul that’s who I really am.

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