Here’s Why Matt Damon Had To Negotiate “Extensively” With His Wife To Be Able To Star In “Oppenheimer”

“I actually negotiated in couples therapy ­— this is a true story — the one caveat to my taking time off was if Chris Nolan called.”

Over the last few years, Matt Damon has appeared in — and produced — several acclaimed movies.

A closeup of Matt Damon

In 2021, the 52-year-old actor starred in The Last Duel and Stillwater, which he also co-wrote and produced alongside Ben Affleck.

A closeup of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon

The following year, Matt made a cameo in Thor: Love and Thunder, and in 2023, he appeared in and produced the popular sports drama Air.

A closeup of Matt Damon on the red carpet

And so, it’s no secret that Matt has been super busy lately in terms of his acting career.

Well, it turns out that Matt’s hectic schedule is something that’s come between him and his wife, Luciana Barroso.

A closeup of Matt and Luciana

Matt and Luciana have been married for almost two decades now, tying the knot back in 2005. They have four daughters: Alexia, Isabella, Gia, and Stella.

Luciana and Matt

This week, Matt revealed that he told Luciana he’d be taking a break from acting before he was offered his latest role, which is in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer.

Christopher Nolan and the cast of Oppenheimer, including Matt, at the premiere

Matt portrays Gen. Leslie Groves in the historical drama-thriller, which will be released later this week, alongside Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, and Robert Downey Jr.

Christopher Nolan, Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, and Matt Damon at an event for Oppenheimer

Sitting down with his costars on Monday to speak with Entertainment Weekly, Matt revealed that he “negotiated extensively” with Luciana about being able to take on the Oppenheimer role given that he’d previously told her he was taking a break from acting.

Luciana and Matt at an event for Air

Noting that he was approached by the director himself, Matt — who previously appeared in Chris's 2014 film Interstellar — explained that while he’d initially told Luciana that he was taking a break from acting, his one “caveat” was “if Chris Nolan called.”

“This is going to sound made up, but it's actually true,” he told Cillian, Emily, Robert, and Christopher. “I had — not to get too personal — negotiated extensively with my wife that I was taking time off.”

A closeup of Matt during the Entertainment Weekly interview

“I had been in Interstellar, and then Chris put me on ice for a couple of movies, so I wasn't in the rotation, but I actually negotiated in couples therapy ­— this is a true story — the one caveat to my taking time off was if Chris Nolan called,” Matt revealed.

“This is without knowing whether or not he was working on anything, because he never tells you... He just calls you out of the blue,” he added.

With all this in mind, it’s perhaps no surprise that Matt described the moment Christopher called him for Oppenheimer as “a moment” in his and Luciana’s household.

Luciana and Matt at a red carpet event

Echoing Matt’s comments about Christopher’s impromptu way of casting actors for his films, Cillian — who plays the titular character of J. Robert Oppenheimer in the movie — revealed he had “no idea” about the role before being phoned by the director.

A closeup of Cillian Murphy

“Chris’s way of operating is that he just calls you out of the blue,” says Cillian. “I genuinely had no idea. He said he was making a movie about Oppenheimer and he said, ‘I’d like you to play Oppenheimer.’”

A closeup of Cillian in the interview with Entertainment Weekly

“I had to sit down. It was kind of overwhelming,” he added, with Christopher noting that he feels ringing people out of the blue is “a fun way to do it.”

“[It’s] a fun way to do it,” he said, before adding, “but it means that it's very difficult to call you to go out to dinner or something. Because every time you answer the phone it's like, ‘What's it going to be?’”

Christopher Nolan and Cillian Murphy at an event for Oppenheimer

You can watch the Oppenheimer cast’s "Around the Table" video with Entertainment Weekly here. The movie will be in theaters on July 21.

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