As his latest turn as special agent Jason Bourne burns up the worldwide box office, Matt Damon is set to debut in animated form in an upcoming episode of the popular kids’ show Arthur from WGBH and Cookie Jar Ent. Damon will play himself, with the addition of little bear ears atop his head, in an installment slated to air on PBS on Sept. 3.
Every season of Arthur has a specific educational theme and this season the producers decided to focus on media literacy, encouraging kids to make their own videos and submit them to the show for a feature titled ‘Postcards From You.’ Series exec producer Pierre Valette tells us that they were looking for a special guest star and found the perfect choice in a fellow Bostonian who happens to be a major box-office draw.
‘Matt Damon made a lot of sense because he’s a filmmaker and is supportive of other filmmakers,’ says Valette. ‘He thought the idea was great and he made himself available to not only act in the episode, but to be animated, which I think for him was pretty exciting.’
Cookie Jar animation director Greg Bailey was able to sketch Damon in person to capture his likeness and translate it for Arthur’s world. For the backgrounds, the animators had to create an environment where Damon would live and what his office looks like. ‘We realized that Matt’s brother, Kyle Damon, is a wonderful sculptor and painter, so our animation artists used his artwork as a basis for all the backgrounds that Matt appears in,’ Valette notes. ‘So there’s that nice collaboration with his brother.’
Valette says they’ve already received a lot of ‘Postcards From You’ entries, but hopes the Matt Damon episode will inspire kids to send in more animated submissions. ‘Already there have been a lot of hits to the website and this is something people are excited about,’ he says.
Damon can currently be seen in theaters in Universal Pictures’ blockbuster The Bourne Ultimatum, the third and perhaps final installment in the series. Created by espionage author Robert Ludlum, the Jason Bourne character has become somewhat of an American James Bond, so it’s only natural that Damon would follow in 007’s footsteps by appearing on an animated children’s program. Former Bond Pierce Brosnan was recently announced as the new narrator for HIT Ent.’s popular series Thomas and Friends.