Get ready to see a very different Matt Damon when “The Informant!” opens Sept. 18. That’s the word from Scott Bakula, who plays one of the F.B.I. agents to whom Damon’s real-life corporate whistle-blower character tells all.
“Matt’s work is extraordinary,” declares Scott. “He just became this guy. He gained 30 pounds. People get that he’s a tremendous actor, but with this, they’re really going to see his comedic sensibility and great character work.”
Bakula’s fellow agent in the Steven Soderbergh dark comedy thriller is funny man Joel McHale, and “Two and a Half Men” comedic actress Melanie Lynskey plays Damon’s wife. “I’ll tell you, we laughed so much,” says Scott. “You get around a bunch of comedians, they’re just trying to outdo the other guy.”
“The Informant!” brings to life the story of brilliant Ph.D. Mark Whitacre of Archer Daniels Midland — the highest-ranking corporate executive ever to turn whistle-blower in the U.S. His noble deed of exposing price-fixing tactics was offset by his own fraud, and made interesting indeed by his bipolar condition and bizarre antics.
“Instead of doing the traditional whistle-blowing character, his view of life washes the movie with this strange tone,” adds Scott.
He notes that Damon and Soderbergh “had a way they worked this character. Steven said, ‘You can’t do it too much. You’ve got to keep going, keep going, keep going.’ They locked into it after a couple of days. It was really remarkable to be on the same ride. Our characters go through these stages of disbelief. We don’t know until well into the movie what’s wrong with this guy.”
This month is going to be hectic time for the multi-talented Bakula, who recently starred in “Guys and Dolls” at the Hollywood Bowl. He’ll be going back and forth from the set of his forthcoming TNT series with Ray Romano and Andre Braugher – “Men of a Certain Age” — to Toronto and then New York for promotion of the film as well as for its premieres. But he wouldn’t think of missing out. “The TV show worked it out for me to come. I’m very grateful for that.”