Good Will Hunting (1997): Matt Damon’s Career Debt to Sylvester Stallone and Rocky

Matt Damon, this year’s Best Actor winner of the National Board of Review (NBR) for his role in Ridley Scott’s The Martian, revealed an interesting anecdote about the time he was shopping around 1997’s Good Will Hunting, which eventually won him the Best Original Screenplay Oscar (with co-writer Ben Affleck).

The fact that Sylvester Stallone starred in Rocky, after writing the screenplay, kept Damon from letting another actor from stealing his movie. “Believe me, they really wanted to take it away from us,” Damon said, as he credited Stallone with both his and Ben Affleck’s acting careers.

He revealed that studio executives thought, “God, Leonardo DiCaprio would be so good in this” of the screenplay he co-wrote. But, he added, “every time they said, ‘You can’t do this,’ we said, ‘It’s been done before.’”  Sylvester Stallone wrote and starred in Rocky, which won the 1976 Best Picture Oscar.