MIT Grad Claims Matt Damon Jacked His Script For ‘Good Will Hunting’ After Meeting Him In The Mid-90s
Nearly two decades after the release of Academy Award-winning movie Good Will Hunting, questions still swirl about who deserves the lion’s share of credit for conceiving it. It’s generally accepted that Matt Damon started writing the film as a final assignment for a playwriting class he was taking at Harvard and later brought on his buddy Ben Affleck to complete the script in 1994.
The movie was originally scripted as a thriller about a boy genius from South Boston whose targeted by the FBI to become a special agent, but Castle Rock Entertainment president Rob Reiner reportedly told the duo to focus on Will Hunting’s relationship with his psychologist, played by Robin Williams. Screenwriter William Goldman further advised the amateur writers to make the climax of the film Will’s decision to follow his girlfriend Skylar to California. In his book titled Which Lie Did I Tell? Goldman writes of the movie, “I did not just doctor it. I wrote the whole thing from scratch,” before denying the claim.
Fast forward 20 years and an MIT graduate is claiming he was “double crossed” by Damon and Affleck after allegedly writing the Good Will Hunting script, Page Six reports.
Bernard Cohen, MIT’s class of ’62, allegedly met aspiring producer Chris Moore at a New York bakery in the mid-1990s and told him about his idea for a movie about a janitor who is also a math genius. Cohen said drew inspiration from one of his frat brothers who came to Harvard at the age of 16.
“I thought [Moore] was someone else and started talking to him,” Cohen told Page Six. “I asked him, ‘Do you know someone younger who could help me finish it?’”
Moore, who was a classmate at Harvard with Matt Damon at the time, passed along Cohen’s request to Damon. Damon then showed up at the bakery a few days later and met with Cohen.
“I didn’t have anything in writing. It was all verbal. I didn’t even ask for a part,” said Cohen. “But I said, ‘When it wins Best Original Screenplay, I want a thank you, and I want you to finance my next film.’”
The rest is history–Good Will Hunting grossed over $225 million during its run in theaters from just a $10 million budget and was nominated for nine Academy Awards.
Cohen said he contacted Moore after the Oscars to essentially say WTF bro.
“Moore acted like he didn’t know anything and told me not to call him again.”
“I was double-crossed,” Cohen said. “You can’t do it the way I did it, obviously. I figured I was such a ball of fire it didn’t matter what I gave away.”
Damon has yet to comment on the accusation.
[h/t Page Six]