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Matt Damon Is an Oil-Rig Roughneck Trying to Save His Daughter

Matt Damon could really use some of his Jason Bourne skills in the first trailer for director Tom McCarthy’s upcoming crime drama, Stillwater. Damon is a father on a mission in Stillwater, with the trailer hinting at a powerful, subdued central performance from the A-lister as his everyman character attempts to save his daughter from a terrible fate.

Stillwater follows Matt Damon as an American oil-rig roughneck from Oklahoma named Bill Baker, who travels to Marseille to visit his estranged daughter, in prison for a murder she claims she did not commit. Confronted with language barriers, cultural differences, and a complicated legal system, Bill builds a new life for himself in France as he makes it his personal mission to exonerate his daughter.

The dramatic looking thriller comes courtesy of Academy Award winner Tom McCarthy, whose 2015 crime drama effort Spotlight made a very lasting impression on audiences. Stillwater is based on a script he co-wrote with Marcus Hinchey and Thomas Bidegain & Noé Debré, McCarthy, and stars the likes of Abigail Breslin as Allison Baker, Camille Cottin as Virginie, Lilou Siauvaud, and Deanna Dunagan as Sharon alongside Matt Damon.

Stillwater image #1

“It can be a very intimate movie and a very character-driven story, but there’s also a lot of scope to it,” McCarthy recently said of the project, before addressing the delay to production caused by the ongoing global situation. “It’s a beautiful film shot in a beautiful place, and I think [Focus Features] felt strongly that people should see it in movie theaters, and I was in agreement with that. I’m in no rush – the movie will play as well this year as it would have last year.”

Damon is of course known for his role as the amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne in the Bourne franchise, as well as his work in such awards heavy hitters as The Departed and Le Mans ’66. He was even nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his central (and very isolated) performance in director Ridley Scott’s sci-fi adventure, The Martian in 2015.

Stillwater Image #2

Very much unlike the role of Jason Bourne, Stillwater finds Damon on uneasy ground, and out-of-depth as roughneck Bill Baker, with the trailer even showing him being beaten to a pulp at one point. “He’s a guy that’s had a difficult life, he’s struggled, but he sort of tried to make amends and do what’s right, I think, when we meet him,” co-writer and director Tom McCarthy said of the character. Bill’s relationship with his daughter Abigail makes up the core of the movie, and it’s a relationship that has been described by McCarthy as “very fractured,” something which will no doubt make his task even harder to comprehend and navigate as the estranged father works to exonerate his estranged daughter of a murder she never committed.

Stillwater was originally due to be released last fall but was delayed due to the current circumstances and theater closures, something which McCarthy feels actually benefitted the movie. “We shut [post-production] down and put it down, revisited it, shut it down again, and then opened it up about a month ago,” he said. “Whenever you can get away from a film like that, and you approach it with fresh eyes, you have the ability to make positive changes to it. I think we made a number of changes to it, which really impacted the movie, but it feels done. It feels baked now.” Stillwater is now scheduled to be released on July 30, 2021, by Focus Features.

Stillwater poster

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