Movie Talk

Why Matt Damon never denied rumors about a gay relationship with Ben Affleck

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Matt Damon

Matt Damon in 'Behind the Candelabra' (Photo: Jarett Wieselman)

When childhood friends Matt Damon and Ben Affleck won an Oscar for writing 1997's "Good Will Hunting," the two Boston natives also became fodder for the Hollywood rumor-mill. Stories speculating the actor-writers were in a homosexual relationship together began to circulate.

It is a topic that Damon has apparently never addressed until now. The 42-year-old actor, now married with three daughters, recently expressed sensitivity around the longtime rumor in an interview with Playboy:

I never denied those rumors because I was offended and didn't want to offend my friends who were gay—as if being gay were some kind of f----ng disease. It put me in a weird position in that sense. The whole thing was just gross. But look, there have been great signs of progress—the fact that Anderson Cooper and Ellen DeGeneres can come out so beautifully and powerfully, and it's a big f----ng deal that it turns out nobody gives a sh--. If Liberace were alive today, everybody would love his music and nobody would care what he did in his private life. Like with Elton John.

Damon stars in Steven Soderbergh-directed HBO biopic "Behind the Candelabra" as Scott Thorson, Liberace's longtime lover. Damon recently said his costar Michael Douglas, who plays the famed television and Las Vegas entertainer who lived his life as a closeted homosexual, is "a wonderful kisser."

The "Bourne Identity" actor never seems to have shied away from such roles over his career. He recalled speaking to Heath Ledger before he died about filming passionate kissing scenes with Jake Gyllenhaal for 2005's "Brokeback Mountain" -- a film in which Damon was originally set to star. Damon revealed that he and Joaquin Phoenix were at one point in talks to play the leading roles in the Oscar-winning film, tossing the idea around with director Gus Van Sant. (It was eventually helmed by Ang Lee who won an Academy Award for directing.)  But since he had just done "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and "All the Pretty Horses," Damon wanted to wait on "Brokeback" a few more years. "I just did a gay movie and a cowboy movie. I can't do a gay cowboy movie now," he recalled telling Van Sant. "The right actor got the part. Heath Ledger was magnificent," Damon added. And when it came to those kissing scenes, the late Ledger told him, "I needed to just go for it. If you can't do that, you're not making the movie."

Ledger's advice served as inspiration to Damon as he made "Candelabra." He has some pretty passionate scenes with Douglas and at one point straddles and kisses him in a chaise lounge. "It's not like I kiss him just once. We drew it up like a football plan," he told Playboy. Damon also has many nude scenes in the film -- something he doesn't typically do. "This movie's not going to be for everyone," he said, adding that he and Douglas have a lot of gay friends so, "we were not going to screw this up or bulls--- it."

Damon went on to say the film covers the intimacy of their relationship and portrays a marriage "long before there was gay marriage. That's not an insignificant thing."

Damon also stars in the upcoming "Promised Land" with John Krasinski - a film the two actors co-wrote. Out in limited release on December 28, "Promise Land" is directed by Gus Van Sant.

Watch Matt Damon in the trailer for 'Promised Land':

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