Fans of The Bourne Identity with certain affection for Matt Damon will be salivating over his next project.
The 42-year-old actor stars as a muscled tough guy named Max in Neill Blomkamp’s forthcoming sci-fi drama Elysium.
A newly-released promotional shot obtained by Entertainment Weekly shows the action star revealing his rock hard abs, decorated with tattoos, as he prepares to invade a space station – home to a utopian society which has left humans for dead on Earth.
His head shaved, and body covered with ink, Damon takes centre stage in the latest offering from Blomkamp, who also wrote and directed intelligent sci-fi film District 9.
Set in the year 2154, Elysium follows life on a space station of the same name, and the humans on Earth forced to fight for survival on a toxic planet.
Blomkamp described Max as the ‘archetypal character who just grew up on the wrong side of the tracks but isn’t a bad guy’, in an interview with EW.com.
‘The idea is that they grew up in this gang environment so each tattoo does have a personal meaning to the character,’ the actor added.
The star revealed the vision for the character, who wears an exo-skeleton ‘hulk-suit’ meant he had to bulk up substantially for the role. He was also concerned about getting injured.
‘It’s really insidious trying to carry extra weight even if you’re in shape,’ Damon told the publication. ‘You just really need a pretty strong core or you can get injured pretty easily, particularly at my age.’
Damon is no stranger to altering his appearance when it comes to his job.
The Good Will Hunting hunk drastically lost weight for his roles in The Talented Mr Ripley and Courage Under Fire, before beefing up again for his iconic part as Jason Bourne. At the time he said: ‘It’s just really hard work… I’ve lost tremendous amounts of weight in my life and there’s just no secret.
‘I did it before the days of getting a nutritionist and chef, you just got to run 13 miles a day with six and a half in the morning and six and a half at night.
‘You can never take a day off and, for four months, you eat nothing but chicken and egg whites and broccoli and no butter anywhere.
‘If you go out to eat you have to have a conversation with the waiter and say, “I’m gonna be your worst nightmare. I’m gonna send the food back if I taste oil on it and I will taste the oil on it.” You got to be that guy.’
He credits Bourne with helping him to prepare for this latest role.
‘I was lucky, because my first big running job was with Franka Potente on the first Bourne,’ he recalled to EW.
‘Franka and Tom Tykwer went out before they shot Run Lola Run and they video-ed her running and she told me, “I was shocked at what I looked like.” She said, “Before you do any of this, go out and get a look at yourself running because you’re way more spastic than you think. You don’t look like what you think you look like, you feel cooler than you actually look when you run.” And that was great advice.’
More recently, the Oscar-winner gained 30 pounds for The Informant, with Damon then joking: ‘I think I lost my Sexiest Man Alive title.’
In preparation of the Steven Soderbergh film, he said: ‘I just stopped working out and basically just ate whatever I wanted.
‘I ate a lot of burgers, a lot of beer and basically had a great time.’
Legendary Silence Of The Lambs actress Jodie Foster will join Damon onscreen in Elysium, along with Prison Break star William Fichtner.
The film is scheduled for release in August.