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Matt Damon Defies Fate: Adjustment Bureau

Matt Damon is set to star in an upcoming sci-fi, love story that will be directed by George Nolfi.The film is entitled, The Adjustment Bureau and is “loosely” based on a story by Philip K. Dick. In The Adjustment Bureau, Damon will play a smooth talking congressman who has a serious future in national politics. He meets a beautiful ballerina (Blunt), but is unable to make a connection with her due to strange and uncontrollable circumstances.

George Nolfi will not only direct, but he’ll co-produce the film. Flash forward to Nolfi’s work with Matt Damon on Ocean’s Twelve; during this time, he pursued the adaptation of what would become The Adjustment Bureau. They were certain that they wanted Damon as their lead, and Nolfi began to write the part of his protagonist with Damon in mind. Observes the writer/director: “Matt’s the best everyman that we’ve got, and because of that he’s extremely believable in a love story.”

Damon’s interest was piqued by this tale of a man who stumbles on a vast, powerful and unseen world that exists on the periphery of our own. He told the filmmakers that if future drafts looked as good, he would be ready to join. “George has been a friend and collaborator for a long time,” notes Damon. “He brought this script to me that he’d written on spec…because he wanted to direct it. I was a big believer in him and felt he could do it.”

Nolfi took the opportunity to polish the idea before revisiting the project with Damon during The Bourne Ultimatum, which Nolfi also co-wrote. “I got the script to a place where I thought it was ready for Matt,” Nolfi says. “Once he said he was interested in being involved formally…it was a back and forth collaborative process.” Together, the colleagues had many philosophical conversations about the material; from these discussions came ideas that Nolfi used to improve the arc and build out his story.

Damon was impressed with the manner in which Nolfi expanded Dick’s work and made it particularly relevant for a modern audience. The performer commends: “George was specific about everything - from the look of it to the types of people that he wanted to cast. He saw what he wanted to do with this piece.”

Since Damon and Nolfi had both worked previously with producer Chris Moore, they agreed that he would be a great partner with whom they could navigate the development of this ambitious project. Of his interest in joining the team, the producer comments: “I was interested in George’s take on what control we have over our own lives. I also loved that the material crosses a number of genres. There are thriller elements, action and a great love story - as well as a personal crisis about what you believe in and who are you going to be. All that, plus a huge action movie about trying to outrun your Fate…that’s what popcorn movies are supposed to be.”

Though the Bourne and Ocean’s films have women in strong but supporting roles, this is one of the first projects in which Damon has been cast as the romantic lead and played someone who is specifically, and fatefully, linked to a lover. As written, David’s love interest needed to be a woman for whom he would move mountains.

On the eve of the election, before David is to give his concession speech at The Waldorf Astoria hotel, he takes a moment to collect himself in the men’s room. Explains Nolfi: “He’s devastated that he’s lost the election. Not just for himself, but he feels like he brought all these people along for the ride and let them down.”

It is in the washroom that he encounters stunning dancer Elise Sellas played by Emily Blunt, hiding from hotel security after she was found crashing a wedding. David finds her charming and irresistible, while she recognizes him as the popular politico who is about to lose the election. He is instantly, and fatefully, drawn to her and starts to fall head over heels in love…something The Adjustment Bureau never intended. For the next several years, David will chase the elusive Elise and try and outwit what the men controlled by Fate have planned for him. And it could cost him, and her, everything.

So who exactly is this group who manipulates us from a position of unseen, immutable power? Who are its agents that seem to be nowhere and everywhere all at once?

They have a bureaucratic system that allows them to manipulate things in such a way that our lives are subtly adjusted, nudged, bumped, moved, encouraged, coaxed and cajoled in the direction that they have determined we should be going in,” sums Hackett. “The Bureau represents a cipher of all interpretations people may have for ‘the other.’ That other power, that thing outside yourself that guides your choices. It’s certainly not accidental that The Adjustment Bureau, distilled to its purest form, echoes a number of the great belief systems around the world, religious or otherwise.”

Nolfi extrapolates upon his concept of the organization that drives his tale: “They’re an expression of a higher power, so it’s not like a government agency that doesn’t want you to do something. They have powers that go way beyond what the earthly powers of an intelligence organization would be. They set us on the course that we are supposed to be set onto so we will follow the grand scheme, or the grand plan. To them they just work at a bureau. They might as well work in the IRS; they’re just doing their jobs.”

Matt Damon Damon is currently starring in the Coen brothers’ remake of the classic Western True Grit and has a number of upcoming projects this year. He lends his voice to Happy Feet 2 and reunites with Soderbergh to join the ensemble cast of the thriller Contagion. He is currently filming We Bought a Zoo, for director Cameron Crowe.

The Adjustment Bureau” is set to premiere on March 4 to be released and distributed by United International Pictures through Solar Entertainment Corp.

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