Matt Damon Talks Family, Thanksgiving, Playdates With Ben

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Nov. 20 2009, Published 2:26 p.m. ET

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Although Matt Damon seems to have done it all, his girls Isabella, 3, and Gia, 1, haven’t yet had playdates with BFF Ben Affleck’s little ones Violet, 3, and Seraphina, 10 months.

“We’re on different coasts,” he says during the premiere for his History Channel documentary The People Speak held Thursday at NYC’s Frederick P. Rose Hall.

Just being a dad is filled with surprises and challenges for the Oscar winner.

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“I never knew I could function this well with no sleep,” Matt says. “That was a realization.”

Matt and wife Luciana, who celebrate their fourth anniversary in December, rely on “good communication” to maintain their wedded bliss.

For Luciana, who has a daughter Alexia, 11, from a previous marriage, keeping Matt happy is simple.

“She just has to get out of bed in the morning,” he says.

For the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Matt and his brood are heading south to spend time with her family.

“We’re getting out of town for a few days, and going down to Florida.”

What’s his favorite holiday tradition?

“It’s gotta be the eating,” he tells me. “Thanksgiving, yeah. It’s gotta be the eating.”

The People Speak writer Howard Zinn has known Matt since he was 5. What makes him a great father?

“He hasn’t been Hollywood-ized,” he tells me. “He’s a very straight, honest, intelligent, thoughtful, socially-conscious person. I’ve known him for a very long time. I love him.”

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He adds, “I remember seeing him with kids before he had kids. He was always good with kids. Maybe it was because his mother was always good with him. He was raised by a single mother. She did a great job with him and his brother.”

Why is Luciana perfect for him?

“She’s not a Hollywood type, either. Not at all. She’s just a human being, and she’s very unassuming, modest. They’re both regular people, so they’re great together.”

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Making the movie is close to Matt’s heart considering he owned the first copy of Howard's book A People’s History, and he read from the first chapter in fifth grade during Columbus Day festivities. (He stars in the documentary with Marisa Tomei, Kerry Washington, Viggo Mortensen, Rich Robinson, Danny Glover, Lupe Fiasco and Q’orianka Kilcher.)

He hopes to teach his girls to be politically active.

“The tagline is that ‘Democracy is not a spectator sport,’” Matt says. “That’s what I would want, more than anything, my kids to take away. This country is about participation, activism, understanding the history of the country, understanding your place in that history, being involved and being a productive part of the American experience.”

The People Speak airs December 13 on The History Channel.


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