How Matt Damon’s brother inspired a ‘Good Will Hunting’ scene
(Credit: Netflix)


How Matt Damon's brother inspired a 'Good Will Hunting' scene

The enduring bromance of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, solidified with Good Will Hunting, catapulted them into Hollywood stardom, a position they’ve maintained for over 25 years.

Through shared living, writing, and even a joint bank account, they supported each other’s dreams, ensuring that success for one meant opportunity for the other.

Fortuitously, they managed to have their cake and eat it when their screenplay for Good Will Hunting was championed to Miramax by close buddy and studio regular Kevin Smith after rival outfits didn’t show much interest, with the end result a critical, commercial, and awards season smash hit that turned the two 20-somethings into a pair of the industry’s hottest commodities.

As well as their win for ‘Best Original Screenplay’, Robin Williams won an Academy Award for ‘Best Supporting Actor’, with the movie shortlisted for an additional seven Oscars including ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Director’, ‘Best Actor’, and ‘Best Supporting Actress’. One of Good Will Hunting‘s most memorable scenes involves a chalkboard and an unsolvable equation, but the truth of how it came to be is rooted somewhere between fact and fiction.

Damon’s Will sees a problem that’s supposed to take MIT’s brightest minds until the end of the semester to crack, but he does it overnight. When a second and even more difficult equation appears, the mathematical savant once again decides that it won’t take him too long to overcome, except this time he’s caught in the act.

It was believed the scene was at least partially inspired by George Dantzig, who solved two famously unsolved problems during his time at the University of California under the impression they were homework. However, Damon maintains his inspiration was a lot more mischievous. His brother Kyle is a sculptor and artist, who decided to wreak a little equational havoc on a visit to MIT.

Per Time, when Damon gave a commencement speech at the research university, he let the cat out of the bag. “Kyle was visiting a physicist we knew at MIT, and he was walking down the Infinite Corridor,” he explained. “He saw those blackboards that line the halls. So my brother, who’s an artist, picked up some chalk and wrote an incredibly elaborate, totally fake, version of an equation.”

According to the star and screenwriter, “It was so cool and so completely insane that no one erased it for months.” Later on, Kyle revealed that thanks to his completely made-up problem that he scrawled for a laugh, there were now “blackboards running down the hall” as students dedicated themselves to cracking a problem that was, for all intents and purposes, complete bullshit scribbled by a rogue artist.