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Many celebrities have been posting quarantine content from their mansions in Los Angeles, but one famous actor is no where near the Hollywood scene. Matt Damon and his family are self-isolating in the small seaside town of Dalkey in Ireland.
Since Dalkey is not used to hosting A-list celebrities, the actor has become the talk of the town. Damon agreed to an interview on an Irish radio show, "Fully Charged," where the hosts asked him to surprise a fan who just happens to be a nurse on the front lines of the coronavirus battle.
To kick off the interview, Damon explained that he was in Europe filming a movie when production moved to Ireland but then shut down due to coronavirus.
Rather than fly home, he and his family chose to stay put in Dalkey, and they've been there for about two months now.
"I don't know if you're fully aware that the Dalkey people are protecting you like a glorious gem," radio host Nathan O'Reilly told Damon during the interview.
Locals have even created a Facebook group to track Damon — and he's aware of it. "That's when I realized how great this place was and how protective everybody is here," Damon said. "I had no idea this was happening behind the scenes." O'Reilly admitted joining the group to try and find Damon for the interview.
The reason Damon agreed to do the interview was because a famous friend convinced him to. U2 singer Bono lives nearby, and while the pals can't see each other face to face due to social distancing rules, they have been FaceTiming. On one call, the Irish singer told Damon: "You know, there's a local radio station that's looking for you."
"That was the final impetus for me," Damon said. "I was like, 'I really got to check those guys out and call into the show.'" The hosts were absolutely delighted that Bono helped facilitate the interview, which they conducted with Damon via video conference.
Damon called Dalkey "incredible" and one of the most beautiful places his family has ever been. "Obviously what's going on in the world is horrible, but for my family, it timed out right," Damon said. "I'm with my whole family and I have my kids and we have teachers with us because we were planning on missing school for about eight weeks. So we have what nobody has, which is live human beings teaching our kids."
Damon knows this is a luxury for parents in a time of remote learning. He's also grateful that in a time when travel is limited, he's stuck in a picturesque place.
Damon said while most of his family is together in Ireland, his eldest daughter, Alexia, from his wife Luciana Bozán Barroso's previous marriage, is in college in New York City. She and her roommates had COVID-19 "early on," Damon said, adding "she got through it fine," and she will reunite with the rest of the family at the end of the month.
Of course, the hosts couldn't end the interview without asking Damon about "Contagion," the prescient 2011 film about an uncontrollable pandemic. "You're oddly prepared for this because you were in 'Contagion.' Life is literally imitating art now," host Graham O'Toole said.
Damon said has spoken to screenwriter Scott Burns and some of the people who consulted on the movie about the current pandemic. "Anybody who says you couldn't, just look at 'Contagion.' I mean, 10 years ago we made a movie just by talking to experts and asking them how this would look and how it would kind of go down," Damon said.
"The whole thing is just tragic and sad. I hope some good can come out of it. Luckily, this isn't as lethal as it might've been, so maybe this is a dry run for the big one that might come along, because these things do come along every few decades," he continued. "Best to be ready for it."
To end the interview, the hosts had Damon surprise a nurse who asked if there was any way she could see him. The nurse, Anais, who is from France but lives in Dublin, was shocked to see Damon join the video conference. "I just can't breathe at all," she said.
Damon thanked Anais for all she and other frontline workers are doing. "I feel like that is the one thing to come out of this — we will never ever ever look at you guys the same. And that's a good thing," he told the nurse.