Matt Damon on Amy Ryan

Actors on Actors

“I sat dumbfounded watching this performance in ‘Gone Baby Gone.’ Every moment, every detail in Amy Ryan’s performance is spot-on. In fact, I’ve never seen an actor from outside Boston come to our city and be this convincing — and a lot of great actors have come here and given award-worthy performances. This is at another level, though. It’s that place actors hope to get to at least once in their career, where they completely disappear into someone else — that place that made me ask, ‘Who the hell is she and why hasn’t she worked more on film before this?’ What’s challenging about a role like this is that Amy Ryan’s playing, basically, the most unsympathetic type of woman there is: a negligent, even abusive, mother of an innocent 4-year-old girl. And she goes for it. She doesn’t ever try to win our sympathy. And yet she manages to infuse the character with enough humanity that we can actually understand why she does what she does, even if we can’t forgive her for it.”

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