Matt Damon’s Invictus Casting Forced Clint Eastwood To Get Creative

In a 2009 interview with critic Emmanuel Levy, Clint Eastwood talked about how making Matt Damon seem as enormous as a world-famous rugby player was going to be something of a problem. Francois Pienaar was noted for his size, and while Damon was game to work out and make his body look like that of a professional rugby player’s, his height was going to be noticed. Many of Damon’s costars were actual rugby players who towered over him and made him look like, well, a Hollywood actor. Eastwood pointed out that the camera can do wonders: 

“Matt may not be the same height as Francois, but he has the same tenacity and power. He also worked out very hard and got himself in terrific shape for the film. And, by structuring setups and camera angles, you can make a person look the way you need them to look.”

Solutions for height differences can include something as simple as standing on a box, to a low camera angle, making a person appear larger. More complicated techniques were used in the silent era, wherein sets on the Universal Studios backlot were constructed in two sizes. A slightly larger set was used for the women, making them seem tinier and more vulnerable, while slightly smaller sets were constructed to make the male actors seem larger and more heroic. Or sometimes a filmmaker can just lie. (One may remember the 5-foot-7 Tom Cruise measuring a few inches taller in a mugshot in “Vanilla Sky.”)

Leave a Comment