It’s crazy to think that it’s almost been 20 years since Matt Damon and Ben Affleck made a wave in the movie business from their breakout roles in Good Will Hunting. And it’s even crazier to believe that their co-star and legendary actor, Robin Williams, has been gone for over two years now.
Damon, who produced the film Manchester by the Sea, nominated this year for Best Motion Picture, Drama, spoke to Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet of the 2017 Golden Globes tonight, and shared some bittersweet words about his late friend.
“Oh, man, [I have] a lot of Robin Williams memories, good memories of him. And Ben said recently, it’s weird, we always felt like we were going to, we had this incredible debt to pay him back,” Damon said. “And we thought there would be time to do that and just the abruptness of somebody leaving like that, that realization comes that you’re never going to be able to pay back this incredible thing done for you.”
He continued, “That movie got made because Robin said he wanted to do it. That changed the trajectory of our careers completely, forever.”
Damon and Affleck co-wrote and co-starred in the 1997 drama film, which featured Williams as Damon’s title character’s therapist. All won their first Oscars for their work on the movie; Damon and Affleck won the Academy Award for their original screenplay while Williams, who died at age 63 in 2014, received one for his supporting performance. The film also scored a Golden Globe for both Damon and Affleck for Best Original Screenplay.
In a throwback interview to promote the film, Damon recalled how emotional Williams made him on set.
“It was the very first day of shooting and Ben and I went to the set. We weren’t working that day and we just saw them rehearse and we were kind of sitting off to the side of the camera…by the time they said, ‘Action,’ tears were just falling down my face,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. I was just looking at Robin start to speak and say these words that Ben and I had just worked on for five years and I just looked up at Ben and the same thing, he was just…”
“And Robin was great. After the scene ended, he came over to us and he saw us,” Damon continued. “He put his hand on our head and just said, you know, ‘It’s not a fluke. You guys really did this. You really did it.”