Matt Damon, Amy Sedaris, and Scarlett Johansson are just some of the stars that made this year's list

By EW Staff
June 23, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

MATT DAMON
Must Boy-to-Man

AGE 35
WHY HIM To quote Vince Vaughn in Swingers, ”Our little baby’s all growns up.” Almost 10 years after shooting his breakthrough drama Good Will Hunting (”That’s weird — that’s a fast 10 years”), Damon, who’s now married with a newborn daughter, takes on two challenging adult roles with two seriously pedigreed directors this fall: as a Boston cop in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson; and as a CIA agent in the Robert De Niro-directed The Good Shepherd, which also stars Angelina Jolie. ”I always looked at the generation ahead of me and coveted those roles because they seemed more interesting,” Damon says. ” [Bourne Supremacy screenwriter] Tony Gilroy told me after the first Bourne movie, ‘Watch, now you’ll see the roles start shifting for you.’ And he was right. Suddenly, I started to get husbands and fathers. It wasn’t the coming-of-age stories anymore.”
DON’T THROW YOUR BACK OUT CARRYING THAT MOVIE ”The Good Shepherd was physically very demanding for me. It was like The Talented Mr. Ripley where I was in every shot. And I had to do a six-mile run every day. You have to get kind of monkish, and that’s your life for six months.”
THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE ”On Marty’s set it was like a church. I’d never seen anything like that, where people were so quiet. Literally, you could hear a pin drop. He needs it quiet because it helps him think. He’s constantly rejiggering the shots and trying to figure stuff out. If there’s a lot of hustle and bustle, he just can’t get his work done. So he closes his eyes and focuses.”
SPY GAMES The Bourne Supremacy opened bigger than M:I-3 and the last Bond movie, meaning Damon is currently the biggest movie spook. Not that he’ll brag about it: ”That’s like being the world’s tallest midget.”
NEXT After Departed (Oct. 6) and Shepherd (Dec. 22), Kenneth Lonergan’s ensemble drama Margaret (due this fall); summer 2007 will bring Ocean’s Thirteen and The Bourne Ultimatum. Deadpans Damon, ”This next year is going to be about the art.”

ZACH HELM
Must ‘Fiction’ Writer

AGE 31
WHY HIM The once-struggling screenwriter will finally see one of his works come to life with Stranger Than Fiction — a comedy about an IRS auditor named Harold (Will Ferrell) who starts hearing a woman (Emma Thompson) narrating his life story. Twisted, yes, but ”I’m the least tormented artist I’ve ever met,” insists Helm. ”I hand my demons to my characters and let them deal with it.” The scene below is a favorite of Fiction director Marc Forster (Finding Neverland) : Harold tells his best friend Dave (Arrested Development‘s Tony Hale) about the disembodied voice.
NEXT Fiction is released Nov. 10; Helm recently directed his screenplay Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, starring Dustin Hoffman (due in late 2007).

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