Actor Matt Damon and producer Frank Marshall lent their Hollywood appeal to an Oklahoma City area charity Tuesday. The pair appeared at a benefit premiere of their new movie "The Bourne Ultimatum” at Harkins Bricktown Cinemas 16. They walked the "red carpet,” which was actually dark purple, down the east hallway of the theater, while people stood on tiptoes to catch a glimpse or a snapshot. Along the way, reporters asked Damon questions ranging from his advice to any secret assassins living in Oklahoma ("Turn yourself in.”) to the need for environmentally friendly movie sets. ("You hear actors huff and puff about global warming, but you'll go on a movie set and see like 8,000 Styrofoam cups laying around.”) At least 1,000 people packed three theaters to see the film, which opens nationwide Friday. The event raised about $192,000 for The Children's Center, a nonprofit Bethany hospital that provides medical care, rehabilitative therapies and special education to children with medical and physical disabilities. "That's great,” Damon said when he heard the amount in an interview at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art before the movie. "It just makes it pretty much a moral obligation of ours to come and to do it, you know. It's having such a real effect, and there's such a tangible thing when you start seeing programs and buildings and people's lives are changing because of this.” "The Bourne Ultimatum” is the third spy thriller starring Damon, 36, as Jason Bourne, an amnesic assassin trying to uncover his true identity. In 2004, Damon and Marshall appeared at their first Oklahoma City benefit premiere with the series' second film, "The Bourne Supremacy.” That event raised about $100,000 for the nonprofit. Marshall, who has produced such blockbusters as the "Indiana Jones” films, the "Back to the Future” trilogy and "The Sixth Sense,” also brought his film "Eight Below” to the city last year, raising another $150,000 for the center. "Frank Marshall, man, what a friend he has been to The Children's Center. It's been really exciting to watch his commitment time and time again,” said Scott Coppenbarger, communications director for The Children's Center. "When you've got a Hollywood premiere to help get your name out there, it's just so unbelievable and we're so appreciative.” Michael H. Wright, a doctor with Oklahoma Sports Science and Orthopaedics, said Marshall, Damon and Mark Harmon "are the best things that have happened to The Children's Center in a long time.”
What's nextThe center's new pediatric medical rehabilitation unit opened less than a month ago, Coppenbarger said. Proceeds from the premiere will go to capital improvements, especially to finishing costs for the unit. Damon, who attended the event with his mother and wife, said he got a wonderful, appreciative reception in Oklahoma City at both premieres. He plans to return with another movie, and hopefully, even sooner. "We're going to get him back. We might even get him back for a Bomber game,” Marshall said. "I'm hoping to join the Bombers as some kind of utility infielder or something. We'll see,” Damon said.
Getting involvedProducer Frank Marshall, 60, first got involved with The Children's Center as the longtime second baseman for Mark Harmon's Bombers celebrity baseball team. The team supports the center through its annual game with the Oklahoma Sports Science and Orthopaedics Outlaws. Oklahoma Sports Science and Orthopaedicsalso sponsored the movie premieres. "I've been coming here for seven years now, and it's always been to benefit the center. And I've seen it grow and how incredible it is to the community and to these kids and how dedicated the staff is there. And it just seems like a great thing to do every time we come here, to try to help grow the center. And we're pretty proud that Mark Harmon Avenue is out there now and the new building that a year ago we saw just under construction ... just opened,” Marshall said.
Benefit premieresMarshall has brought three benefit premieres to Oklahoma City: •"The Bourne Supremacy” benefit premiere in 2004 raised about $100,000. •"Eight Below” premiere last year raised about $150,000 for The Children's Center. •"The Bourne Ultimatum” premiere Tuesday raised about $192,000.