Robin Williams

Matt Damon picks the best line from ‘Good Will Hunting’

Childhood friends and early career partners Matt Damon and Ben Affleck became an overnight sensation in 1997 following the success of their debut movie, Good Will Hunting

The pair co-wrote and starred in the classic Gus Van Sant direction, earning the Academy Award for ‘Best Original Screenplay’ for their sterling work.

Consolidating the monumental achievement, comedy actor Robin Williams also won the Academy Award for ‘Best Supporting Actor’. In the story, as conjured by Damon and Affleck, Williams starred as therapist Dr. Sean Maguire, who offers guidance to Damon’s Will Hunting, a janitor at MIT whose mathematical genius is discovered by a professor.

Although Damon and Affleck fully deserved their ‘Best Original Screenplay’ Oscars, Williams improvised some memorable parts of his performance. Lingering in most people’s memories long after viewing is Williams’ ad-libbed line about his late wife’s habit of late-night farting.

In one of the movie’s funniest moments, Dr. Maguire remembers his late wife in a conversation with Will. “She used to fart in her sleep,” Williams says. “One night, it was so loud it woke the dog up. She woke up and was like, ‘Oh, was that you?’ I’d go, ‘Yeah’ – I just didn’t have the heart to tell her.”

Damon responds with a genuine laugh, surprised by Williams’ on-the-spot wit. “That she woke herself up?” he asks in response.

Despite Damon’s reaction to this famous line, the actor’s favourite line from the movie is another of Williams’ improvisations, arriving at the very end of the movie. In the closing scenes, Will turns down a lucrative job offer, instead deciding to drive to California and reunite with his love interest, Minnie Driver’s Skylar. When reading Will’s letter informing him of the job rejection, Dr. Maguire says, “Son of a bitch. He stole my line,”

According to Damon, the final scene took 60 takes, but when Williams added his own line, they knew they had it made. “Robin would open the door and come out, and he’d find this letter,” Damon told Vanity Fair in 2023. “I was right next to Gus, next to the camera… ’cause we wanted it as if he was hearing my voice. I said, ‘Sean, if the professor calls about that job, tell him sorry, I had to go see about a girl.’ So I would say that. And what was scripted was that he just takes a moment and realises that I’m gone.”

“In true Robin fashion, we did 60 takes,” he added. “Like we just left the camera rolling, and he kept coming out and kept coming out. He did something different every single time. I remember when he said, ‘Son of a bitch. He stole my line,’ I grabbed Gus’ shoulders. I felt him tense up like we both knew. We were like, ‘Holy shit.’ What a line. How did we not think of that?”

Watch the closing scene from Good Will Hunting below.

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