Will Matt Damon's politics cost him at the box-office?
After the trailer for Matt Damon’s Green Zone premiered on the Web yesterday, packaged to resemble the next installment of the Bourne franchise, initial feedback to our PopWatch post about it was generally enthusiastic. However, there is also a vocal faction that seems to resent films that have a self-critical political point of view and the actors who espouse them. “This is basically Damon goes to fantasy Iraq and spews his conspiracy theories. Not interested,” wrote one commenter. “Wow…yet another ‘Blame America’ movie from a bunch of actors…none of whom would ever pick up a gun in real life to defend it,” typed another.
Damon has never been shy about his politics. He criticized the war in Iraq, campaigned for Barack Obama during last year’s election, and ripped into Sarah Palin, comparing her vice-presidential bid to a “really bad Disney movie.”
Actors and other celebrities risk a backlash whenever they voice their personal opinions on public matters. Just ask Alec Baldwin, Tim Robbins, or Tom Selleck. Activism can have a price.
So the question is, Has Matt Damon reached the Sean Penn Threshold? Does the subtext of his personal politics so permeate his art that he might subsequently alienate a portion of the moviegoing public?
Can you appreciate the work of artists who you disagree with on important matters? Can you still enjoy a Springsteen song, or a Toby Keith tune, if you don’t share their respective politics? Does Damon’s — or George Clooney’s or Clint Eastwood’s — politics ever affect which movie you see on a Friday night?
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