June 10, 2002 01:00 PM

Matt Damon, who recently — and prematurely — abandoned the London stage so he could drum up publicity in America for his latest movie, “The Bourne Identity,” turned up in Idaho during the weekend, where he helped raise money for the Boise Contemporary Theater, reports the Associated Press. Outside the Fulton Street Theater on Saturday, says the news service, the Oscar winner, 31, posed for pictures, greeted fans and journalists, and mingled with about 450 people. And he publicized his new movie, a spy thriller based on a Robert Ludlum novel. “It’s great to do something like this to support theater,” Damon said, according to the AP. “I think Boise is a great town. It’s really beautiful.” His appearance at a fundraiser that featured the film raised about $30,000 that is aimed to go toward the Boise theater’s operating budget. A month ago, PEOPLE.com reported that after only two weeks of performing in previews of the Kenneth Lonergan play “This Is Our Youth” in London’s West End, the talented star of “The Talented Mr. Ripley” announced that he was taking a break from the show, which is about rich New York slackers and which marked his London stage debut. (Actually, he had taken over the role from Hayden Christensen, 21, who plays Anakin Skywalker in “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones.”) At the time, PEOPLE.com reported, it remained uncertain how long Damon’s understudy, British actor Adam Rayner, would fill in for him. But a spokesperson for the stage production told the AP that Damon would definitely be back in London for the show’s final curtain on June 15. That gives him until the end of this week.

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