Originally, Matt Damon was going to make his directorial debut with a script co-written by The Office star John Krasinski. Due to scheduling conflicts, the untitled project, described as being about a salesman who experiences life-changing events after arriving in a small town, is now being directed by Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting), with a projected April start date for shooting.
While at the press junket for Big Miracle, inspired by the incredible true story of rival world superpowers who came together to rescue a family of gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle and opening in theaters on February 3rd, Krasinski talked about the journey the script has taken, why Matt Damon had to drop out as director, and how excited he is to have Gus Van Sant direct his first original script. Check out what he had to say after the jump, and check back for what he had to say about Big Miracle closer to the film’s release date.
John Krasinski: As far as my brain has been able to process it, it’s a pretty incredibly exciting thing. I had this idea for a script, and worked on it a little bit with Dave Eggers, who came up with the story and actually wrote a first draft of a script with me. And then, I brought it to Matt, who wanted to direct, immediately. The script fell apart because of an issue that was happening, at the time, that wasn’t going to be a strong enough issue later on, so we had to re-write the script. He’s been an incredible friend and collaborator on the whole thing.
But then, just before Christmas, he realized that [it wasn’t going to work out]. It’s very similar to doing three or four movies over five years, and then having them all come out in the same year. Everyone believes that you shot them all last year. It’s the same thing with booking movies, I would assume. I’ve never been that in demand. But with Matt Damon, a lot of things that he had agreed to, all of a sudden, everybody was calling him and saying, “The only time we can do it is here.” And, he looked at his schedule and there was just no way to do everything. He’s a very, very talented guy, and an incredibly smart guy. He takes it really seriously, and he didn’t want his first opportunity to direct to be hindered, in any way, shape or form.
So, it really was purely scheduling. He’s doing Liberace (with Michael Douglas) in June. 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. And so, I was incredibly bummed, to say the least. It was a very hard night. He called me around 7:30. And then, I remember at 1:30 the next day, he called again and was like, “So, Gus Van Sant is 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 storyteller, and for our movie, in particular, he’s going to be unbelievable. So, I’m thrilled. I’m really, really thrilled. It’s my first original script. I adapted a screenplay, which is very, very different because that was all David Foster Wallace. But, this is my first script, so to have this experience, I should just call it quits after this.
How soon will that go?
Krasinski: It’s going to go in April. It’s pretty exciting.