Matt Dillon's secrets: why he would never live in Los Angeles, the country he loves for its music and days of passion with Cameron Diaz
Since his explosion in Francis Ford Coppola's The Outcasts, he had everything to follow the same path as his partner Tom Cruise, but he chose to flee the stardom and refused to be a sex symbol
Matt Dillon traded fame for jobs he's passionate about and away from Hollywood (Reuters)
At the beginning of his career, Matt Dillon was described as the James Dean of his era. Andy Warholspoke of “his astonishingly attractive appearance.” And Francis Ford Coppola himself praised him and hired him without hesitation for “The Outcasts”, a film that opened the door to a new generation of actors, who were called “Brat Pack”, a nickname for the youthful stars who were the great protagonists of cinema in the '80s.
“He is one of the best actors in cinema.< /b>She has the secret of not giving too much, or not trying so hard, as to distract us from her performance,” critic Roger Ebert once said. However, his choices to get out of his star status brought him near anonymity. He has neither Twitter nor Instagram nor does he share anything private about him on social networks. Even when he recounts his work at the NGO Refugees International, he admits: “We actors need these things to get shit out of our heads.”
The Oscar nominee always repeats that he did not become an actor for fame and never felt comfortable being a heartthrob or teen idol. “The sex symbol label was a surface for me, it wasn't something I could identify with. Of course, I liked having the adulation of all those young girls, but I decided to take a path that would lead me to do the best I could with what I have,” she explained to the newspaper El País.
“I remember when I was going to Lee Strasberg once I went to the bathroom to have a cigarette and someone had written on the wall 'Al Pacino shit here .” Our heroes were great actors. The De Niro generation, Al Pacino, Gene Hackman or Dustin Hoffman. We really admired and took notice of them. Now there are great actors, of course, but something has changed.”
When he was still young, he imposed the relationship at a distance when he changed California for Lee Strasberg's acting classes in New York. “It's not that I don't like Los Angeles,” he told the newspaper El País. “I look at Hollywood and it seems very sad to me. It's really pathetic what I see, delusional. There are more opportunities out there to get in touch with reality and most of what you do is rubbish.”
She's a contradictory figure, a movie star whose first instinct was to get away from reality. fame. “It is not convenient to appear on the covers. I shouldn't be a model for anyone. I have the right that my life is not impeccable ”, he said some time ago.
His complicated relationship with fame
Matt Dillon, the rebellious actor who fled stardom and refused to be a sex symbol (Getty Images)
In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El País, Dillon was clear on why she flees from the attention of the cameras and the frivolity that is part of her chosen job: “I have always wanted to be a type of person who is accessible to others. If one day that stops happening I'll think I'm missing something. Maybe that's why I've never lived in Los Angeles. Fame is a strange phenomenon that no one prepares you for. It means nothing to me. It's not important.” With such a clear understanding of his role in Hollywood, Dillon built his career on these convictions and moved away from the sex symbol image.
From his early youthful roles in Francis Ford Coppola's “The Outsiders” and “Rumble Fish” to more mature roles as the leader of a family of addicts in Drugstore Cowboy” by Gus van Sant,the New York actor decided to cross the ocean to deepen his passion for acting in European cinema. “European films tend to be a bit more open to interpretation”, he explained in dialogue with The Guardian.
In Over the past few years, Dillon has explored some challenging avenues of filmmaking. He played an astronaut in “Próxima”, by the French director Alice Winocour ; he was chilling as a serial killer in Lars von Trier's “The House That Jack Built”; and worked with renowned Iranian photographer and filmmaker Shirin Neshat on the film “Land of Dreams”.
Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Emilio Estevez and Rob Lowe became idols and role models for a generation. Hundreds of teenagers fell in love with them in "The Marginalized" by Francis Ford Coppola (The Grosby Group)
It was 1979 and at the age of 15 he was cast as a rebellious teenager in the film “Over the Edge” . The story goes that he was discovered by an agent while he was sleeping outside the school in Mamaroneck, in Westchester County, New York. “I wasn't in class, you could say that. I think I ended up doing that movie because I connected so much with the character. I recognized this kid, he was a juvenile delinquent, he was probably in a much worse place than I was.” The film would be the favorite of a musician who marked the 90s: Kurt Cobain, who paid tribute to him with his song “Smells like teen spirit”.
Dillon became an actor without ever being interested in movies. Director Jonathan Kaplan, known for the series “ER”, compared him to Marlon Brando, but he didn't even know who he was.
Raised in a family Catholic, the second of a total of six brothers, one of whom is also an actor, became a screen idol in his teens. In the '80s, he looked as much a rock star as any movie actor of his generation, gracing countless teenage bedroom walls after roles in Coppola's adaptations of “The Outsiders” and “Rumble Fish.” /p>
While taking her first steps she was offered the lead in “The Blue Lagoon” with Brooke Shields. When Matt read the script, he thought he should spend too much time naked and turned down the role. He never regretted turning down that opportunity. He was already beginning to show that he would rather tell a good story than be a star. The character ultimately went to an unknown Christopher Atkins, who later retired from filmmaking.
1980: Brooke Shields and Matt Dillon in New York (Getty Images)
Since the '80s, Dillon's career has had its ups and downs, which she managed to weather with hits like “There's Something About Mary” by the Farrell brothers and in a 2005 adaptation of “Factotum,” a novel by American writer Charles Bukowski.
Back then, the artist said he identified with the writer, whom he considers a “hero of the working class”, because he also had to sell newspapers and was fired from several jobs. “He wrote about his world. About people who are prisoners of work, their miserable lives, escaping and suffering in a bar. Before he was 20 years old, he had already read all his stories. “I got caught up and devoured all his novels.”
he was also the racist Los Angeles cop in “ Crash ” by Paul Haggis, which won the Oscar for best picture and earned Dillon a string of nominations. At first, Dillon was concerned that people would identify him with the character. Now, he connects the paper with the current moment in the United States: “Put your hands against the wall is a thing of the past, now it's throw him on the ground, strangle him and maybe shoot him.”
One of Coppola's “rebels”
Matt Dillon poses on the streets of New York in the mid-90s (Photo by Oliver Morris/Getty Images)< p class="paragraph">The director of “The Godfather” said it reminded him of “the young hipsters of the 50s″. Francis Ford Coppola made him an ex-convict in “The Outsiders” (Rebels, 1983), along with new sex symbols such as Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Ralph Macchio and Patrick Swayze. Although he ended up fed up with the renowned filmmaker because they did it again that same year in “Rumble Rule”, along with Diane Lane, Nicolas Cage and Mickey Rourke, who played his brother.
Coppola's audition process for “The Outsiders” also drew stars like Scott Baio and Dennis Quaid. Dillon was not on the director's radar. Eventually, Dillon joined the film's cast as Dallas Winston thanks to author S.E. Hinton. “I recommended Matt because I had worked with him on 'Tex.' Francis decided it was perfect.”
In the early 1990s, Dillon was already too big for a teenage audience and had to analyze which way he was aiming in his career and decided on a direction that puzzled more than one. He was a part of “Wild Things” with Denise Richards and Neve Campbell, performance that was blurred by the lesbian scene of those '90s muses.
In a way, Dillon got what he wanted. He spent a good part of his career trying to avoid being cast into the stereotype of the handsome American. “I don't want to be pigeonholed into that typical male lead thing… I just want to get good juicy character roles ,” he told The New York Times in a 1983 interview, conducted when he was still a teenager. Even then, his interviewer noted the actor's “deep shame” about his status as a “heartthrob”.
These days, Dillon may as well play < b>serial killers and racist cops as the conventional romantic leads. And he frequently works outside of Hollywood: for example, collaborating with Danish director Lars von Trier on “The House that Jack Built ”,2018. “I have no interest in serial killers, but I wanted to work with a great artist,” he acknowledged in an interview with The Guardian in 2020.
He admitted to having doubts about the film, especially because of a scene in which he terrorizes one of his victims, played by Riley Keough. “I almost didn't make the movie because of that scene, it was hard for me to think about. It wasn't because of the violence, it was because of the way she talked to him.” Even after filming, he was reluctant to see the finished product.
Dillon at the 2021 Venice Film Festival ( REUTERS/Yara Nardi)
Dillon has also been pursuing other passions close to his heart. At the San Sebastián Film Festival, he premiered “El Gran Fellove”, his first documentary as a director. It is a portrait of the late Francisco Fellove Valdés, a Cuban jazz singer. The film is based on footage Dillon shot in 1999 when he traveled to Mexico City to meet Fellove, then 77 and living in anonymity. At first, the singer was puzzled and had no idea who Dillon was, simply calling him “Matthew”, but he accepted the challenge to talk about his career in exile without losing his roots.
He is in love with Cuba and its music. What is it about this music that drives you crazy? Taste, taste, taste, and nothing else. Cuba is a miracle, a small island with incredible music. When you land there you fall in love with his way of understanding the world, “he said.
Something is wrong with Cameron Diaz
In the 1990s, Dillon and Cameron Diaz lived one of the most popular relationships in Hollywood (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
In terms of his personal life, and unlike other actors, Dillon has been very low key although he has had several high profile relationships over the years. In his eagerness not to appear on the cover of gossip magazines, he managed to get only his romance with Cameron Diaz to come out.
In 1998 he was called upon to be a part of “Crazy About Mary”, the hit comedy directed by brothers Bobby and Peter Farrell and starring Ben Stiller and Cameron Diaz. It was in the shoot that fell in love with the funniest blonde in Hollywood. They used to go into hiding to smoke marijuana. It was love at first sight, though Diaz would neither confirm nor deny who was the lucky one when asked about it. “He's in business”, he would just say to some curious journalist.
Little by little, the actress was more precise and when the courtship was made public, she filled him with praise. In an interview for Rolling Stone in 1996, she stated “Matty is the best. He is unique in his style…he has never taken the more commercial route. He is an intelligent, poetic, full and real human being. And he is down to earth. Matt is the greatest ”, she said very much in love.
The love between them did not go unnoticed on set until one of the co-stars, Lin Shaye, said she had never seen anything like it on a set. “Matt would come over and rub his shoulders if it had been a long day. He would see them sitting together on a bench or him stretching out with her head on her chest. They were very affectionate.”
However, with the release of the film also came the breakup. In the midst of the commercial success of the comedy, the press published that Cameron and Matt had decided to end their love.
Years later, the actor spoke about it: “I loved her and we were very close, but everything just ran its course. We're both actors, she lived in Los Angeles and I lived in New York, and I didn't want to commit to moving there,” he explained to Rolling Stone.
They had a brief romance, but one that is still remembered.
Diaz has avoided commenting on their romances and separations. When pressed by host Andy Cohen to open up about her dating history in 2016, the actress said: “Nothing matters now that I have my husband. I don't even remember any of it”, referring to Benji Madden, whom she married in 2015 and welcomed daughter Raddix at the end of 2019. After more than a decade in retirement, the actress returns to the in the Netflix action comedy “Back in Action” opposite Jamie Foxx.
Matt Dillon with his partner Roberta Mastromichele at the Venice Film Festival in 2020 (Photo by Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images)
After that famous romance, Dillon built a wall over his life and was never shown as a couple again. Until 2004 when he found out that he was dating the Italian actress and choreographer Roberta Mastromichele. He's spending more and more time in Rome these days.
Professionally, Dillon has been in a number of movies in recent years and is ready for the next one. by Wes Anderson, “Asteroid City”, which opens in June and has a cast of leading actors: Margot Robbie, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Edward Norton, Bryan Cranston and Steve Carell, among others.