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Matt Damon on the sports icon He likes to chat over beer, is working on ‘Oppenheimer’ and more


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Matt Damon invites beer aficionados to join him and some celebrity friends for dinner in New York as part of a new Stella Artois campaign.

The Sky actor and co-founder of Water.org stars alongside Zoe Saldaña, Ludacris and Jeremy Allen in a commercial for the beer company competition “Let’s Do Dinner”.which will fly 15 lucky winners and their plus points to the Big Apple for a star-studded event featuring dishes from renowned chefs, live performances and a guest list from some of the world’s most fascinating people.

The epic dinner party will also support Water.org, the non-profit organization Damon co-founded with Gary White in 2009 that works to provide safe water and sanitation for people living in poverty in Asia, Latin America and Africa. The organization works with local financial institutions to provide affordable microloans that allow people to buy their own water taps and toilets, eliminating the need to borrow from loan sharks and rack up debilitating debt.

Damon talks exclusively about Water.org’s partnership with Stella Artois since 2015 The Hollywood Reporter that the Anheuser-Busch company “has been very good at integrating Water.org into their PR and marketing and raising awareness of the mission.” The brewery has helped Water.org provide safe, clean water to more than 4.5 million people abroad and generate 11 billion impressions around the world through Super Bowl ads, limited edition charity chalices, celebrity collaborations and more.

“There’s a huge ripple effect to this issue because it absolutely changes lives,” the 52-year-old actor explains to THR during a Zoom interview. “That’s why I like going there every year to meet people (all over the world). The difference between having access and not having access is incalculable. It’s the difference between a girl going to school or being forced to find water for her family.”

The Jason Bourne star remembers a 13-year-old girl in Haiti that still stands out in his memory. “My eldest was 13 at the time, so I feel an incredible connection with this boy. Of course she should remember to play, instead of spending three or four hours a day looking for water for her family. So that was powerful on a personal level. But the scale of it and the number of people we were able to reach was very exciting, both intellectually and spiritually.”

Zoe Saldana, Ludacris and Matt Damon in Stella Artois’ commercial ‘Let’s Do Dinner’.

Thanks to Stella Artois

Since merging with White’s WaterPartners (founded in 1990 to help communities in Latin America), Water.org has helped break financial barriers to clean water for more than 52 million people in Kenya, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Mexico , Peru, the Philippines and elsewhere. The organization also works in government, social and corporate sectors to support policy change.

In the spirit of Stella Artois’ September soiree (the rest of the star-studded guest list is still a secret), Damon reveals who he’d like to meet over a frosty glass of beer.

“So many people come to mind. I just finished shooting last Friday, so I’m out of touch with all my friends, so even dinner with friends sounds pretty good too,” says the Cambridge-born filmmaker. “But I can think of one Boston sports figure — do you know how recently passed away? Bill Russell, whom I never met. He was a great basketball player, but a really incredible person. I wish I had the chance to have a beer with Bill Russell.

There are these iconic stories about him. He was a very important figure in the civil rights movement, and he was just a very brave man, especially when he lived in Boston. He was an iconoclast, he’s just a legend there. People love autographs in Boston. Bill Russell would never sign, what he would do is say, ‘I won’t sign that, but I’ll shake your hand.’ He shook someone’s hand and looked them in the eye, the whole idea was (over) connection, and that became a real connection. He wanted to have a real connection with the person and not scribble something on a piece of paper that would probably get lost.”

After his starring role in Sky (streaming now on Prime Video), Damon next hits the big screen as Lieutenant General Leslie Groves Jr. at Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, the biopic in which Cillian Murphy plays physicist “and father of the atomic bomb” J. Robert Oppenheimer. In theaters July 21 (tickets available online from Fandango), the film also features Robert Downey Jr., Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, Kenneth Branagh, Gary Oldman, Jack Quaid and Rami Malek.

“Cillian is nothing short of incredible in this movie, the whole thing really rests on his shoulders. It’s a remarkable achievement, I can’t wait for people to just see that,” says Damon. “But the truth is just as important as the subject, it’s really fun working with Chris! He’s so good at what he does that it’s just a really enjoyable experience and for me as a lifelong filmmaker just to be able to watch him make decisions under pressure is real it’s about as much fun as it gets for me at work. I’m looking forward to seeing how people react to the movie, I had the chance to see it recently and I was really blown away, I’m excited for everyone to see it.

The film also runs about three hours – which is arguably one of Nolan and Damon’s longest films to date. Damons Bourne’s Legacy was 135 minutes, and that of the director Interstellarin which the actor also appears was 169 minutes.

“It’s funny, (Nolan) plays with time so much, it’s almost like he plays with our time in the movie, especially with the pacing. It didn’t feel like the movie was three hours long,” he says.

Watch the commercial below and find out more about the Let’s Do Dinner campaign online here.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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