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John Krasinski Talks Overnight Hiring Of Gus Van Sant For New Film With Matt Damon, Shooting Starts In April

The Playlist By Jeff Otto | The Playlist January 22, 2012 at 10:28AM

The good news? John Krasinski’s as-yet-unnamed project he co-wrote and will co-star in with Matt Damon has a start date: April 2012. The bad news? We still don’t have a frickin’ clue what it’s about.
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John Krasinski

The good news? John Krasinski’s as-yet-unnamed project he co-wrote and will co-star in with Matt Damon has a start date: April 2012. The bad news? We still don’t have a frickin’ clue what it’s about.

Krasinski was on hand in Santa Monica, California this week to promote "Big Miracle," his ensemble political comedy opposite Drew Barrymore. During the interview, we asked the actor to bring us up to speed on the Damon project. “It’s a pretty incredibly exciting thing, as far as my brain’s been able to process it,” Krasinski tells press. “I had this idea for a script and I worked on it a bit with Dave Eggers, who came up with the story and actually wrote the first draft of a script with me. And then I brought it to Matt, who wanted to direct immediately. The script sort of fell apart because of an issue that was happening at the time that sort of wasn’t going to be a strong enough issue later on, so we had to rewrite the script and Matt’s been an incredible friend and collaborator on the whole thing.”

The film was originally slated to be Damon’s directorial debut, but scheduling issues made that impossible. “Just before Christmas he realized that all of these things he’d agreed to, everyone was calling him saying the only time we can do this is here and he looked at his schedule and there was just no way to do everything,” says Krasinski. “And, you know, he’s a very talented and smart guy. He takes it very seriously and he didn’t want his first opportunity to direct to be hindered in any way shape or form. He’s doing [the Liberace biopic] 'Behind the Candelabra' in June, so he would have had to shoot our movie, go shoot another movie, and then come back and edit and that’s just not the way you want to do your first movie. I was incredibly bummed, to say the least.”

Thankfully, Krasinski didn’t have to wait very long to find a suitable replacement. “He called me around 7:30 one night to tell me [he couldn’t direct it] and then at 1:30 the next day he called again and said, ‘So, Gus Van Sant’s doing our movie’ and I flipped out. I think Gus is one of the most talented directors there is or ever has been. He’s an incredible story teller. For our movie in particular, he’s going to be incredible. So I’m thrilled. It’s my first original script, so to have this experience, I should just call it quits after this.”

Although we tried to fish for additional details about the plot or his character, Krasinski was mum except to confirm that it will lens in April. Just as before, all we know about the story is that it’s about a salesman who comes to a small town and experiences life-changing events. With the start date only months away, we expect to have more details on this one soon.

On a final note, we asked Krasinski whether he’d be interested in directing again. Along with a few episodes of “The Office,” the actor directed 2009’s “Brief Interviews with Hideous People.” “Yeah, at some point,” says Krasinski. “I had the best time, but I was also surrounded by the most amazing people. John Bailey, who actually shot this movie ['Big Miracle'], shot my movie. When you have a great team around you, they make you look really, really good. If I could ever assemble that ground of people and harness that sort of courage, that would be fantastic. But it’s a little bit like walking down a street with land mines and then at the end of it, people are like, ‘You know there were land mines all down that?’ Now that I’ve seen it, I’ll be looking out for them and it’s a lot more difficult than just blindly running down the street. It wasn’t easy, but it was really fun. I had a blast directing.”

We’ll have more from Krasinski soon about “Big Miracle,” which opens nationwide February 3rd.

This article is related to: John Krasinski, Interviews


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