How playing a cleaner turned Matt Damon into a star

How playing a cleaner turned Matt Damon into a star

How playing a cleaner turned Matt Damon into a star

Today, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are household names. Prior to December 1997, however, they were pretty much unknown.

The film that catapulted them to stardom, Good Will Hunting, saw Damon play a janitor with a troubled past who also happens to be a mathematical genius.

From janitor to genius
Damon's character in the film, Will, is a 20-year-old, self-taught maths whizz who, rather than using his considerable talents to achieve fame or fortune, prefers to work as a janitor at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology by day and go out drinking with his friends at night.

He causes a stir when he anonymously solves a mathematics problem posed for graduate students. When an even more difficult problem is placed on a blackboard in one of the MIT corridors, Will puts his mop and bucket to one side and sets about solving it. He is discovered by Professor Gerald Lambeau, who chases Will away but is then stunned to find that the solution is correct.


In order to avoid jail time after getting into a fight, Will agrees to study mathematics under Professor Lambeau's supervision. As the story unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that Will is tormented by the memories of an abusive childhood and struggles to form personal relationships.

He starts to overcome his demons with the help of Dr Sean Maguire, played by Robin Williams, and Skylar, a student at Harvard who plans to attend medical school in California. By forming these relationships, Will begins to see how he could achieve a happy future.

On the path to success
The story of a troubled kid from South Boston with hidden depths certainly struck a chord with audiences and critics alike. It was a big hit at the box office, bringing in some $226 million worldwide on a budget of $10 million.

Perhaps most significantly of all for Damon and Affleck, who wrote the script for the film, it won the Oscar for best original screenplay in 1998 and was also nominated in the best picture and best actor categories. Williams took home the best supporting actor accolade.

The film's huge success provided the spark that ignited both Damon and Affleck's careers, turning them into the international stars they are today. Damon went on to take leading roles in movies such as The Talented Mr Ripley, The Bourne Identity, Elysium and The Martian, while Affleck has starred in the likes of Armageddon, The Town, Gone Girl and Pearl Harbour.

Of the many credits on their CVs, it is surely Good Will Hunting that is the most significant of all, considering the huge impact it had on both of their careers.

Here at Aurora, we could well have some undiscovered mathematical geniuses within our ranks of cleaning professionals, but we attach more importance to the efficiency and attention to detail required to ensure your business premises look and feel perfect.


Posted by Julie Tucker