This story was originally published on July 31, 2007.
Eager fans of all ages packed the sidewalk and traffic clogged the street outside the Egyptian Theatre as the throng of people waited to get a glimpse of Matt Damon arriving for the Boise premiere of "The Bourne Ultimatum."
But with no fanfare, Damon and his wife, Luciana Barroso, simply walked against the traffic from a nearby parking garage to get to the theater. Suddenly, as he stepped onto the sidewalk, the crowd erupted into a high-pitched extended squeal of excitement.
Cindy Johnson, 35, of Meridian, felt her heart racing and maintained a wide smile. She said she came to Boise to see "a true Hollywood legend."
Never miss a local story.
Damon's appearance is for his latest film, the final installment of the spy-thriller trilogy inspired by
Robert Ludlum's Cold War novels. Damon, who stars as Jason Bourne, and producer Frank Marshall, who has close ties to Idaho, brought the film's Boise premiere to benefit Boise Contemporary Theater.
Damon did not disappoint on any level, inside or outside the theater.
Shaun Dyke, 33, of Meridian, said the 36-year-old is a respected actor, but one whom you could easily share a beer with.
"He embodies a coolness, whatever movie he's in. He's just a guy's guy, " Dyke said.
As Damon and Marshall made their way down the red carpet, Damon radiated his affable charm. He joked with reporters, stopped to sign autographs and even stepped over the velvet barrier to pose for photos with a group of teenage fans who just happened by.
Inside the theater, Damon was on the screen through two-hours of nonstop, nail-biting action -- running across rooftops, driving through exotic streets in breathtaking chase scenes filmed in Tangiers and other locales. The audience erupted in cheers as Damon's character completed the quest he began in "The Bourne Identity" in 2002, to discover who Jason Bourne really is and how he became the best CIA "black ops" agent. To some fans, Damon has become the best CIA agent on film.
"It was absolutely fantastic. We've seen all three, and this was the best, " said Randy Mayo of Boise.
Damon said this was one of the most challenging films he has done so far, mostly because he and the creative team were keenly aware of the pressure to be good.
"To see these other movies coming out and people being disappointed with them made us really think, " he said. "We really didn't want to let the audience down."
The first time the film played to an audience was last week at a screening for critics, Damon said.
"People were Blackberrying us during it with 'They're cheering! They're cheering!' " he said.
Locally, the cheering extends beyond the movie, which benefits the Boise Contemporary Theater with a "little cash flow, " said Matthew Cameron Clark, the theater's founder and artistic director.
In fact, the cash flow is enough to put the theater company securely into the black at the beginning of its 11th season, an achievement that Marshall feels particularly proud of, he said.
"This is my home away from home, and anything I can do to give back makes me feel great, " Marshall said. "It's so much more fun to go to a premiere here than in L.A. Everyone there is jaded. People are so excited here. We just love the energy here."
This is the fourth premiere Marshall has brought to Boise since 2002. In the past, he had brought some of his earlier movies here, too, such as "Back to the Future" starring Michael J. Fox.
Marshall has a flair for trilogies. But both Damon and Marshall agree that, for now, Bourne is off the grid.
"I feel good to be done with this original trilogy Ludlum wrote. It's hard to stretch 'Who am I?' across three movies, and I think we did a good job and this is a very fitting and rewarding end, " Marshall said.
For Damon, tackling the character again would require a reconception of what the character is after.
"One journalist suggested we could do a sequel with Bourne looking for his keys, " he said.
Damon said he would love a chance to work again with Marshall, director Paul Greengrass and all the creative team.
"We've been through so much together, " he said. "You know making movies is one of the greatest things to do in the world. To do them with your friends is just an amazing experience."
What might bring them together again and Bourne out of retirement?
Marshall, as always, answered with assurance that there is only one thing: "A good script, " he said. And he's always on the lookout for one. That's what took so long for his next project to come to fruition.
Marshall is currently shooting the fourth "Indiana Jones" film with Harrison Ford. Marshall produced the first three films of that series, and, he added, "There's a chance of a premiere in Boise."