Matt Damon is a great actor, has written some amazing screenplays, been nominated for numerous awards, and made millions at the box office. And yet, for some reason, when Trey Parker and Matt Stone included him as a puppet character in their mocking satire Team America: World Police, Damon was basically a special needs case.
The only line for the Damon puppet all movie is him saying his own name: “MAAAAAAATT DAAAAAMON.” During a recent Reddit AMA to promote the new Jason Bourne movie, Damon was asked about his now infamous appearance in the comedy from the creators of South Park.
I was always kind of bewildered by Team America, I think because it’s hard for us to understand what our images are in public, I think we’re not good judges of that, and when I saw myself on screen just only able to say my own name and not really that well, I kind of wondered “Wow, is that how people perceive me?” At that point I just kind of was like, I’m a screenwriter and an actor, and like really? I can barely say my own name? So I was always bewildered by that, and I never talked to Trey and Matt about that. And Incidentally, I believe those two are geniuses, and I don’t use that word lightly. I think they are absolute geniuses, and what they’ve done is awesome and I’m a big fan of theirs, but I never quite understood that one. But I will say this. Those of us who were parodied in that video were parodied because we were against the Iraq war, and we went on the record against that war, and so history is on my side not theirs.
The popular rumor is that Damon’s puppet character originally had regular lines, but when the doll was finished, Parker and Stone felt it looked a little… well, handicapped. Rather than waste time getting another Matt Damon puppet made, they just changed the script so that he could only say his own name. It’s become part of pop culture lore, so much so that Damon is often asked to sign photos of the puppet instead of his real headshot.
The most common head shot that I’m asked to sign is pictures of that f**king puppet. And they always say, “Will you write ‘Maaaaaatt Daaaaamon’?” I’m like, “Okay. Matt, with, like, 16 a’s in it.” [Parker and Stone] are legitimate geniuses. But when that came out, I thought, Wow, is that what people think of me? That I’m really dumb? So I remember asking friends of mine, and they all told me that it didn’t really make sense that I was dumb. I was like, “Are you just saying that?” (Via GQ Magazine)