The ''True Grit'' star and Water.org cofounder talks about his busy year

By EW Staff
November 12, 2010 at 05:00 AM EST

Why is Water.org so important to you?
Every 15 seconds, a kid is dying because he or she doesn’t have access to clean water and sanitation. It’s pretty staggering. In America, you can just walk over to the faucet and get a drink of water. So it’s hard to wrap your brain around the notion that there are little girls who can’t go to school because they’re spending their days gathering water. Dehydration is a ridiculous way to die in this day and age.

Did having kids yourself make you more passionate about this issue?
I feel like it’s deepened. It’s very hard to go to these places like India, Ethiopia, and Kenya and not connect to all of these kids as your own. Once you’ve had children, it’s very hard to turn your back on a child.

Judging from the trailer for True Grit, it seems like you’re the movie’s comic relief.
I asked them to schedule me so I wouldn’t be away from my kids for too long. I’d shoot for four days in Texas, and then I’d get off the plane and run home and say to my wife, ”Oh, I had this line…” and I’d start acting it out for her.

With your film work and the Oct. 20 birth of your daughter Stella, how do you find the time for anything else?
I’ve learned that if you decide not to sleep, you pick up all these extra hours in the day. We came home from the hospital the other night, and we were up with the baby and the alarm went off. And I realized, ”Oh, s—, I’ve got to take the other kids to school!” Their lives don’t stop because we had a baby. So it’s a little relentless, but I mean that in a good way.

Want to support Damon’s cause? Go to gift.water.org and buy a reusable water bottle ($24.99 for the stainless-steel bottle, $18.99 for BPA-free triton).

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