WEIRDLAND: JFK's War: Essays by Douglas Horne, The Talented Matt Damon

Thursday, January 06, 2022

JFK's War: Essays by Douglas Horne, The Talented Matt Damon

Max Boot, a conservative who has long favored regime-change operations on the part of the U.S. national-security establishment, is going after Hollywood producer and director Oliver Stone. His beef with Stone? He’s upset because Stone has long maintained that the U.S. national-security establishment employed one of its patented regime-change operations here at home, against President John F. Kennedy. What does Boot say about Saundra Spencer in his piece for The Washington Post? Absolutely nothing. Spencer’s testimony matched what Dr. Robert McClelland, who was one of JFK’s treating physicians at Parkland Hospital, said. He stated that Kennedy had a massive exit-sized wound in the back of his head. McClelland wasn’t the only one who said that. So did the other treating physicians, nurses, a Secret Service agent, two FBI agents, and others. What does Boot say about Dr. McClelland and all those other witnesses who stated that JFK had a massive exit-sized wound in the back of his head? Absolutely nothing. What does a fraudulent autopsy have to do with the assassination? It tells us that the assassination was a regime-change operation, no different from other regime-change operations carried out by the national-security establishment, in places like Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Indonesia (1958), Congo (1961), Cuba (1960 to date), Chile (1970-73), and others. It is predictable that Boot would cherry pick the speeches, since he was and is a neocon. He was a former member of the calamitous Project for the New American Century, which advocated for American intervention in Iraq as far back as the Clinton administration. Boot championed intervention in Afghanistan and opposed withdrawal. He had no problem with Hillary Clinton’s unmitigated disaster in Libya. He also agreed with her advocacy of direct American intervention in Syria. There has scarcely been a war that Max Boot did not like—no matter how bad the results were. Source: www.counterpunch.org

Matt Damon was once cast to play Robert F. Kennedy in a biopic about the late politician. Deadline and Variety reported that the film would be based on the Evan Thomas biography RFK: His Life. Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) was chosen to direct from a screenplay by Steven Knight.  The biopic would have spanned Kennedy's ascent from his brother's shadow to a powerful nation figure before being assassinated during his 1968 campaign for President. This might have been finally Damon's shot at a long-deserved Oscar. Sadly, it didn't happen, but on paper, you had a respected, likeable and talented actor playing a larger-than-life American icon. While Damon was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of South African rugby star Francois Pienaar in Clint Eastwood's Invictus, that doesn't even begin to compare to playing Robert F. Kennedy. Damon is the goods and RFK's story is worth telling so it's really a missed opportunity the studios decided to pass on the project. Speaking to CNBC, Matt Damon said: "If they could figure out a way to do Bobby Kennedy, I would love to do that. I just love that guy, and the incredible things he was saying at the end of his life." Source: collider.com

Following his split with Winona Ryder in the spring 2000, romance had continued to prove difficult for Matt Damon. Co-starring with Spanish actress Penelope Cruz in 2000’s All the Pretty Horses had inevitably, led to rumours that the pair had been romantically involved. ‘She’s a dear friend,’ said Matt, ‘but unfortunately we haven’t had any time to be together. She went off to make Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and since November I’ve been in Europe filming The Bourne Identity.’ Cruz went on to have a three-year relationship with Tom Cruise after she co-starred with him in Vanilla Sky (2001), before going on to marry fellow Spanish actor Javier Bardem in 2010. As it turned out, Matt didn’t have to look too far afield for his next relationship. He met Odessa Whitmire when she was working as Ben Affleck’s personal assistant. Whitmire, from North Carolina and five years Matt’s junior, had previously acted as professional assistant to actor-writer-director Billy Bob Thornton when he was dating Laura Dern in the mid-1990s. In 1999 Thornton had directed Matt in All The Pretty Horses, when Whitmire was still part of Thornton’s group of assistants. It was during the shoot on that picture that Matt first met Odessa, then in her mid-20s, although they wouldn’t properly hook up until 2001 when she was working for Ben Affleck. Learning from experience, Matt did his best to keep the relationship private - unlike Minnie Driver and Winona Ryder, Odessa wasn’t an actress or a public figure. 

They only appeared together in public at two events - both international premieres for his film The Bourne Identity in Taipei, Taiwan and in Sydney, Australia. Matt hoped that dating a ‘civilian’ might result in a longer lasting relationship than those he’d had with actresses. ‘If you’re with somebody who’s in the business, the attention becomes exponentially more severe,’ said Matt to Boston magazine. ‘I think if you don’t date anybody who’s in the movie business, you’re one step ahead. If you’re not going out to nightclubs and dancing, the paparazzi leave you alone, and once they leave you alone then you’re not in the magazines at all, and then the magazines leave you alone.’ Well, it was a theory - and for a couple of years the secrecy seemed to work. However, the press were not about to leave the star of The Bourne Identity alone, so rumours soon began that he and Odessa were preparing to get married - and that provoked a reaction. In December 2002, Damon’s publicist Jennifer Allen was issuing statements in response to a report of the couple’s impending nuptials in a gossip column in the New York Post: ‘The rumour that he’s getting engaged has been fabricated over the past couple of weeks, but it’s not true. He is dating Ms. Whitmire, but he is not engaged.’ Even Matt’s father, Kent Damon, was forced to deny the marriage claims. Whether it was the public pressure, or Whitmore's possible past relationship with Affleck, the relationship was over by the following Halloween. Whitmire moved on from Damon, opening a chain of vintage clothing stores called Some Odd Rubies with outlets in New York and Los Angeles, but she also continued to work as Affleck’s occasional assistant at least up to Argo in 2012. The break-up with Whitmire meant it was open season on Matt Damon once again, allowing the press to speculate about who he was dating, often with little evidence but a lot of imagination. As he’d dated at least two co-stars previously, surely he couldn’t have failed to hook up with Eva Mendes, his Stuck on You (2002) co-star, right? It was actually during the making of Stuck on You that Matt would meet the woman who’d eventually become his wife and give him the opportunity to start a family, but it wasn’t Eva Mendes. 

It would be Luciana Boz├ín Barroso, an Argentinian interior decorator who worked as a barmaid in the Crobar at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami in 2002. Matt recalled: "I swear to God, that happened to me… something incredible happened the first time I saw her." Lucy was soon to accompany the star on his 2004 tour across Europe shooting on Ocean’s Twelve, before returning with him home to Boston to meet his family, where he then worked on making The Departed. By 2005, Matt announced his marriage to Lucy, proposing just before the Labour Day holiday. Matt was determined to keep his ‘private life’ as private as possible, especially as Lucy was not in show business. The marriage took place in December 2005 in a small, private ceremony held at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau. Accompanying the newly-weds was Lucy’s daughter Alexia from a previous relationship. Alexia soon had three sisters - Isabella (born 2006), Gia (b. 2008), and Stella (b. 2010) - making for a family of six. One person happy with the arrangements was Lucy’s ex-husband (they divorced in 2004) and father of Alexia, Arbello ‘Arby’ Barroso, with whom Matt developed a good relationship. ‘I couldn’t possibly have asked for a better stepfather for my daughter than Matt Damon,’ Arby told Star magazine. ‘He treats Alexia like she is his own flesh and blood. Matt has been an absolute blessing for my daughter. Matt is a fantastic stepfather and Luciana is a terrific mom.’ For his part, Matt adjusted to becoming an instant father with Alexia and to fathering his own three daughters over the next five years. ‘Suddenly it wasn’t just my wife,’ said Matt, ‘it was her four-year-old little girl… There was never a choice. It was just the way it was, and I was happy for that. I can’t imagine my life having not gone down that road. I can’t imagine what my life would be now. I don’t want to imagine it.’ Matt’s instincts were right: he would find a lasting and fulfilling relationship with someone from outside the film industry, after years of dating actresses and others associated with the business. That distance from his work was ultimately what he needed in order to make a success of romance. Source: The Talented Matt Damon (2016) by Brian J. Robb
 

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