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Ben Affleck and Matt Damon Were 'Shocked' 'Good Will Hunting' Was Released: Affleck Explained Why They Were Motivated to Write It

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon hoped Good Will Hunting would be successful, in part, because they wanted to use it to land more acting roles. During an interview on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Affleck and Damon reflected on writing and starring in the film, with Affleck admitting they were ‘shocked’ the movie was released at all.

Ben Affleck said he and Matt Damon were shocked about ‘Good Will Hunting’ success

During an Oct. 13 appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Affleck and Damon discussed their new movie The Last Duel, which brings them together as co-stars and writers again.

The two were given a chance to reflect on their work together on Good Will Hunting when Fallon showed a photo from the movie’s premiere. “You wouldn’t imagine that those two idiots would still be around,” Affleck joked, adding, “Not sure what was going through my head there, looks a little like a Zoolander…”

Getting the movie made turned out to be surprising, however, as Affleck shared, “I think we were just shocked that it all happened and wouldn’t have imagined getting another job.”

He went on to explain that their “ambition” behind writing and starring in the movie was a way for them to show off their talents and hopefully get more roles.

“The whole thing of Good Will Hunting was really just to make — at the time — a video cassette that was like an acting reel,” Affleck explained. “Like, we can’t get the job to show that we can do interesting stuff, so the whole thing was have a reel and show casting directors, and so we’ll write these parts for ourselves … that was our ambition so I think we were shocked that it even got released.”

Affleck and Damon admitted the ‘Good Will Hunting’ experience ‘put us off writing again’

Though Good Will Hunting was successful, they didn’t continue to pursue writing — until now, 25 years later, mostly because the process was so time-consuming. “Good Will Hunting took us so long… we were like unemployed, broke guys. It took us forever to write that screenplay,” Damon admitted. “I think we wrote thousands and thousands of pages. We didn’t really know what we were doing.”

He continued, “And I think that kind of put us off writing again because we never thought we’d have the time.”

After working successfully on other movies since Good Will Hunting, they discovered the tools to tighten up the writing process quite a lot. “And I think we found writing this that we actually kind of picked up structure over the last 25 years of kind of making movies, and so it went a lot faster…,” Damon added. “Then we also made the really good decision of getting a great writer [Nicole Holofcener] to come with us.”

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