Matt Damon Calls Ben Affleck a 'Perennial Optimist'

In the darkest days of Ben Affleck's career meltdown, during the era of "Gigli" and "Bennifer," where was his best buddy, Matt Damon?

"For years, I would defend him because he was so misunderstood," said Damon, when asked by Rolling Stone movie critic Peter Travers what he thought of Affleck's recent Oscar win for "Argo." "The image of him was so wrong that the media was perpetuating. Granted: he made some movie choices that weren't great."

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In the video clip above from his interview with Travers on "Popcorn," Damon added that Affleck is a "perennial optimist" who would take roles thinking he could fix the script during production.

Added Damon: "But he wouldn't be the director and the director would disagree with him, and he would have to fall in line and do what the director said because that's your boss and that's the directors medium. So it wasn't until he became the director that he got to make those decisions that his career just turned around and skyrocketed."

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Damon, who is moving to L.A. with his wife and four children, said he is doing so, in part, to be closer to Affleck, with whom he owns the production company Pearl Street Films. The two friends are currently planning a biopic about infamous Boston mobster Whitey Bulger, who is currently on trial for racketeering, extortion, money laundering and drug trafficking. Affleck will direct and Damon will star as Bulger.

After the critical and commercial successes of Affleck's "Argo," "The Town," and "Gone Baby Gone," Affleck is an A-List Hollywood director. And for Damon, that means he no longer has to defend his friend's good name.

"When you say his name it means something completely different now than it meant 10 years ago," Damon said. "And it means what it always should have meant."

For Peter Travers' full interview with Matt Damon, who opens up about his new film, "Elysium," click here.

(Photo credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images)