As astronaut Mark Watney in The Martian, the film adaptation of the bestselling novel by the same name, Damon plays a man stranded on Mars after a manned mission gone awry. Though a majority of Watney's time in the film is spent struggling to survive on Mars, figuring out how to find water and grow food, and trying not to run out of oxygen, it's no surprise that the role required its fare share of stunt work. As seen in the trailer, Watney endures a few explosions and technical mishaps, not to mention the space walks and astronaut stunt sequences required for a man surviving alone on a foreign planet. But did Matt Damon do his own Martian stunts? Given the actor's proven ability to do stunt work in the Bourne trilogy, it wouldn't be a shock if he also put in the work on his latest, space-set film.
Yet if he did, it must not have been too bad. Although Damon may have had to be thrown around through the air to capture some of the more explosive stunts on film, the only physical complaint the actor seemed to have had was relating to his wardrobe — more specifically his spacesuits. "The surface suit I wear is like 4/3 wetsuit. It gets hot. The EVA suit is really hard to get into. You can't really move in it," Damon said in an interview with Newsweek. "Jessica [Chastain] said it was like being a baby. You have no control of your body basically and can only sit there and just cry or laugh. And hope somebody picks you up."
As for the zero-gravity stunt work, Damon revealed that some of the stunts were as simple as standing on one foot and moving very slowly. "You're in space, and you act while you're standing on one foot and move slowly, and it's totally ridiculous, but within the confines of that frame, it works," Damon said during the film's press conference at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Still, Damon has downplayed any stunts while doing press for The Martian, insisting instead that it was his castmates, including Jessica Chastain and Sebastian Stan, who did the brunt of the action work.
"There's the whole other side of the story with all the bells and whistles and NASA and all of that exciting stuff," Damon told Newsweek. "They had wrapped 55 actors before I even got here. It's like they shot three separate films. And ours is this weird little movie about a guy on Mars all by himself. But there's this whole other, exciting mission-control movie. And then the movie in space with Jessica and the crew."
Damon may not have had to do a lot of stunts for The Martian, but he did have to help grow potatoes on the sound stage, and that should count for something.
Images: 20th Century Fox