Tag Archives: Matt Damon

Crowe’s Nest: Fast Times Book, IFC Zoo Interview & More!

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The Crowe’s Nest is a feature that collects random tidbits, etc. in one blog post. So let’s get started!

  • First off, glad you all enjoyed the Say Anything… deleted scenes. Don’t forget that we’ve already posted some Jerry Maguire and Singles deleted scenes.
  • The Bookfinder has released their 100 Most Sought After Out of Print in 2011 and the Fast Times at Ridgemont High book is ranked at #16. As we’ve previously discussed, Cameron owns the rights to the book, but has no plans to re-release the book at this time. Keep looking for a copy at your local thrift store, used book store or at a garage sale!
  • Cameron chats with Matt Singer over at IFC. The first interview focuses on We Bought A Zoo, Matt Damon and the holiday release date. Part 2 revolves around the Say Anything… sequel (that we’ve previously covered) and Part 3 highlights Jónsi, the music of Zoo and future film plans.
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Sep 1, 2011

Inquire Within: Moving the “Zoo” From England to California

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Welcome to another edition of Inquire Within… Through your submissions, Cameron will answer your questions in his own words. The goal is to have a new question and answer posting every few weeks leading up to the releases of Pearl Jam Twenty and We Bought a Zoo this fall and The Union early next year.

The Uncool: Why did you decide to rework the location in We Bought A Zoo from England to Southern California?

Cameron: The story was set in Boston when I first read Aline’s script, and she really made it sing as a universal story.  I watched Benjamin Mee’s BBC documentary, and read his great book a few times and knew that Ben’s story (while very much set in the UK) was largely a personal one.  I also knew a ton of places in “inner” California that felt like my “Dartmoor”… places that felt far removed and would support a struggling zoo.  Then we found the Greenfield Ranch location, outside Westlake Village, and we all fell in love with the property.  Plus, I wanted to work with Matt Damon, and I think he gets things done pretty well with his natural accent… so we started casting American actors, reading with them, setting the story here in California… and the real Benjamin Mee gave us a thumbs up… and that’s a mighty thumbs up.  We filmed in “out of the way” California, places that don’t normally turn up in the movies.  (Though Jamie Foxx had a place in the hills across the way and the rumor was he was tracking our movie through binoculars.  Hey Jamie!)

Please send in your Pearl Jam Twenty questions for Cameron and maybe yours will be part of a future installment of Inquire Within…


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Aug 24, 2011

EW: Fall Preview – We Bought A Zoo + New Hi Res Still

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Entertainment Weekly profiles We Bought A Zoo in the their annual Fall Movie Preview issue. Above, you’ll also find a brand new high resolution still from the film featuring Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) and Kelly Foster (Scarlett Johansson). Here’s what EW had to say:

We Bought A Zoo
Starring Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church
Directed by Cameron Crowe

To persuade Matt Damon to play We Bought A Zoo‘s Benjamin Mee — a real-life London newspaper columnist who moved his family to a decrepit rural zoo and, after the death of his wife from cancer, worked to reopen it — director Cameron Crowe visited the actor on the Texas set of last year’s True Grit with a care package. ”I’m going to give away my age because I would call it a mixtape even though it was all on a computer,” says Damon of the gift, which Crowe assembled to evoke the mood of the film he wanted to make. ”There was lots of Eddie Vedder and Neil Young. I downloaded it, and the day after I got home, I went for a long run in Central Park and listened to all 15 songs. At the end of that run I was like, ‘Well, that’s a feeling I really like.”’ Scarlett Johansson plays a zoo worker who helps Mee cope with his wife’s death. (Dec. 23) —DK

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Aug 17, 2011

USA Today Profiles We Bought A Zoo

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Composite Photo of Cast (Courtesy of Neal Preston/20th Century Fox)

USA Today‘s Susan Wloszczyna visited the set of We Bought A Zoo back in March and her main report has been posted in the Life section.  There’s also a smaller story on the music as well. Lastly, you’ll we are treated to new behind the scenes pictures courtesy of Neal Preston. I’ve included some of the pictures here and a few choice quotes from Cameron, Thomas Haden Church and Matt Damon.

“It’s kind of an act of desperation for Benjamin,” “He does it impulsively, but at the same time, his late wife would have celebrated this kind of adventure. It’s really a love story about a guy who is still in love with his wife.” – Matt Damon

Matt Damon and Colin Ford (Photo Courtesy of Neal Preston/20th Century Fox)

“I am the playfully sarcastic voice of reason and skepticism.”  – Thomas Haden Church, who plays Damon’s accountant brother, Duncan.

But We Bought a Zoo felt like the right movie at the right time. “The size of this was great.” “I love those rich movies where every character feels like you could veer off and do a movie just with them.” – Cameron Crowe

Scarlett Johansson and Maggie Jones (Photo Courtesy of Neal Preston/20th Century Fox)

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Aug 2, 2011

5 Things I Learned About We Bought A Zoo

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I was fortunate to visit the set of We Bought A Zoo and thought you might enjoy hearing about my  few things I’ve learned, along with some of my own opinions.  I also wanted to share a few pictures that I took on set and I promise they will not spoil the film for you.

1. Changes – While Benjamin Mee’s book is the inspiration for the film, Cameron has rewritten the original script with many of his own touches. Some character names have changed, the location has been moved from England to Southern California and the name of the Zoo has changed from Dartmoor Zoological Park to Rosemoor Wildlife Park. Benjamin Mee is aware of these changes and is on board.

2. Technical Details – Film purists, don’t need to worry. Cameron is not going digital. We Bought A Zoo is being shot on film with Cameron’s preferred aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

3. The Kids – Wow. What can I say. I was privileged to see the young actors working (Colin Ford (Dylan Mee), Elle Fanning (Lily) and Maggie Elizabeth Jones (Rosie Mee) and they are something special. As usual, Cameron and casting director Gail Levin have found some gems. Great acting chops, heart and humor were on full display. As for the rest of the cast, I watched various scenes being filmed with Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, John Michael Higgins, Angus MacFadyen and Patrick Fugit. This eclectic cast was having a lot of fun and the chemistry on set was evident.

4. The Production Design – Clay Griffith and his team have done an amazing job with the creation of the Zoo and Benjamin Mee’s house. The attention to detail is staggering. The house looks like it’s been there for fifty years and the Zoo “feels” like a real, live working animal sanctuary.  I cannot wait to see how it looks on the big screen.

Rodrigo Prieto

5. The Look – Cameron’s new partnership with Director of Photography Rodrigo Prieto looks to be a winning combination. Rodrigo has shot some gorgeous films in the past (Biutiful, Babel, Lust Caution and Brokeback Mountain to name just a few) and it was exciting to watch their collaboration on set.

That’s it for now, but there will be plenty more to come as we inch closer to the finish line. Don’t forget that We Bought A Zoo will be released by 20th Century Fox on December 23, 2011.


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Apr 7, 2011

We Bought a Zoo: Making the Scene

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A great new NPR article/podcast about film locations scouts came out recently. You read the entire piece here, but I’ve included the relevant We Bought a Zoo quotes with location manager Chris Baugh and Cameron Crowe below. Furthermore, you can listen to the NPR audio for the story here.

Near Hollywood, some other streets have been closed in recent weeks for a film called We Bought a Zoo. Director Cameron Crowe was filming in the neighborhood of Los Feliz.

“Yesterday I came in angry,” says local resident Kerry Sutkin. But it didn’t last. “Matt Damon kept walking by.”

Four-legged neighbors? Gotta think of them, too. Miles from Los Feliz, on a 450-acre ranch in Thousand Oaks, location manager Chris Baugh is overseeing the creation of that same film’s zoo — made from scratch just for the movie. There are horses pastured nearby, and while everything seems bucolic and calm at the moment, that could change: Tigers will eventually populate the zoo set.

“Wait till we bring in the big cats,” Baugh says.

Plus, there will be a lot of other creatures on the film — flamingos, llamas, monkeys and the bear. For a six-week shoot, Baugh will also have to provide facilities for the care, feeding and safety of a tamer group (one hopes): the cast and crew.

It must be tempting to throw up your hands, say it’s too difficult, opt to build the zoo on a sound stage instead. But that’s not an option for a location scout.

“We’re not allowed to say no; we have to make it work. So we find a way,” Baugh says.

At a small corner restaurant back in Los Feliz, shooting has begun for the Matt Damon movieWe Bought a Zoo. Location manager Chris Baugh, who was working before on the zoo construction at the ranch, comes to Los Feliz to solve a few problems on the neighborhood set. One question comes from the best boy grip, who wants to know where on the location he can park his car.

It’s little things like that that fill up a location manager’s day. Baugh says it’s like throwing a full-blown wedding for 200 people — in a different place every day for 50 days. Except that at these weddings, commandos drop onto the roof some days, or a machine gun fight begins. And then there’s a tidal wave.

When problems crop up, Baugh says, the cry goes up: ” ‘Get me location, get me locations, where the hell is locations?’ And you have to solve everything.”

Director Cameron Crowe says it’s all worth it, if it helps an actor like Damon.

“What was great was being able to bring him to these places and say, ‘This is what we found.’ And he immediately said, ‘I feel the movie here. I can play this character,’ ” Crowe says.

For Crowe, the long, hard work of location scouting — and set designing, lighting, cinematography, performing, directing, all of it — is most successful when it disappears.

“The movie should make it all feel invisible,” he says. “The movie should make it feel like you’re just viewing somebody living a life. To be living a life on screen, they have to feel like that’s their house, this is where they were born. [They have to be] comfortable enough to make you believe it.”


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Mar 1, 2011

More We Bought a Zoo Set Pictures

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Matt Damon, Script Supervisor Ana Maria Quintana, Cameron Crowe and Director of Photography Rodrigo Prieto

A few more pictures from late January have surfaced with Cameron (and crew), Matt Damon and Thomas Haden Church on the set of We Bought a Zoo. Enjoy!

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Feb 8, 2011

Crowe Looks Back and Ahead..

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NY Post film critic Lou Lumenick catches up briefly with Cameron via email to celebrate the Blu-ray release of Almost Famous – The Bootleg Cut. Cameron also touches on Elizabethtown, Pearl Jam Twenty and We Bought a Zoo. Here’s the choicest quotes:

On Almost Famous, The Bootleg Cut & Support from Fans and DreamWorks

“It’s the one movie I’ve done that I hear about the most,” Crowe tells The Post. “Wherever I am, it seems, somebody comes up and says something about ‘Almost Famous.’ ” “Often it’s a button-down business type who looks like somebody’s accountant uncle, and they take you aside and say wistfully, ‘I followed Deep Purple to 25 cities in the early ’70s. ‘Almost Famous’ is my life,” says Crowe, 53. “And we have a moment talking about music, and vinyl. It’s the reason I made the movie.”

“We had the commercial capital, thanks to DreamWorks, to make the movie with all the love and time to get it pretty right,” Crowe recalls. “Big props to the cast, too, who really felt the movie as we were making it. Kate Hudson dancing on that arena floor will always be one of the favorite things I was very lucky enough to be behind the camera and watch happen. Movies tend to communicate the spirit of the people who made it, maybe that’s why it lasted.”

Crowe calls the 162-minute “Untitled” version, which adds 40 minutes and was previously available on DVD, “the full movie. The theatrical cut of ‘Almost Famous’ was honed through public screenings. On the big screen, I think the cross-country tour was a little exhausting for some people (just like life) . . . but for home viewing, ‘Untitled’ is made for you to put it on pause, grab a beer, and then back on the road to visit the next city. “Also there are some sub-plots in the longer version that I do miss in the theatrical version — for example Jeff Bebe (Jason Lee) has a secret coke problem and other little side-stories that I will always love. Either version is there for whatever mood you’re in, or how long you want to tour with Stillwater.”

On Elizabethtown

“Elizabethtown,” Crowe says, “was a big, open-hearted movie that worked for some people, maybe not for others. But for me it will always be about the final road trip, and the music of My Morning Jacket and Tom Petty and Ryan Adams. Also it was a chance to film in Kentucky and pay a little tribute to my Dad, who grew up there.”

On Pearl Jam Twenty

Crowe calls it “our equal-part tribute to Bob Dylan’s ‘Don’t Look Back’ and The Who’s ‘The Kids Are Alright.’ When I first moved to Seattle in the mid-’80s, that now-hallowed music scene was starting to come together and I was fortunate to have a front-row seat to the formation and the early shows of Pearl Jam. We gave them jobs on ‘Singles’ to keep the band afloat.”  “They became good friends of mine, and about 10 years ago we started talking about a project that would use all the archival stuff the band had never shown to the public. The time finally came to tell that story. Jeff Ament, the bassist and creative architect of the band in many ways, said to me, ‘I’m expecting to learn things about our little band that I never knew. I hope it’s a little bit like group therapy.’ ”

On We Bought a Zoo

Crowe e-mails that it’s “probably closest to ‘Almost Famous’ or ‘Jerry Maguire’ in the mix of comedy and drama. It’s a fun movie with a smokin’ cast, and I think everybody is bringing something new to it. We’re almost two weeks in, and every day has been a blast. It’s also a little bit of a tribute to the great Bill Forsyth comedy, ‘Local Hero.’ I’m really excited . . . tomorrow Peter Riegert, the star of that movie, is playing a juicy part with Matt Damon. Should be good.”

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Feb 1, 2011

David Crosby: Remember My Name-Out Now on DVD/Blu-ray & Digital!

  • Almost Famous- Paramount+
  • Aloha- Starz, DirecTV
  • David Crosby- Starz, DirecTV
  • E-Town- FUBO
  • Fast Times- TUBI
  • Jerry Maguire- Netflix
  • Say Anything...- FUBO,Paramount+,MGM+
  • Singles- Vudu
  • Vanilla Sky- Prime Video,Pluto TV
  • We Bought A Zoo- Disney+