Matt Damon Recalls Ben Affleck Directing Him in High School Plays: 'You Should Do It Like This'

"He's been directing me for like 40-something years," Damon said of his longtime friend and collaborator

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty

Ben Affleck directed Matt Damon for the first time in their Hollywood careers on the set of AIR, but Damon is used to being coached by his longtime friend.

During a Q&A following a screening of the upcoming film in New York City on Monday night, Affleck, 50, joked of Damon, 52, "It's not the first time I've carried him!", according to IndieWire.

"It might seem like the first time he's directed me," said Damon with a laugh, adding, "I mean, we did high-school plays where he was like, 'Dude, I think you should do it like this.' "

"He's been directing me for like 40-something years," Damon noted.

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AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 18: Ben Affleck and Matt Damon attend the "AIR" world premiere during the 2023 SXSW Conference and Festivals at The Paramount Theater on March 18, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for SXSW)
Michael Loccisano/Getty for SXSW

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Affleck and Damon met while both growing up in Boston and graduated from the same high school (Damon in 1992, Affleck in 1994).

Damon's brother, Kyle, previously told PEOPLE that the pair "weren't considered cool kids." In fact, "They were drama geeks."

The pair started auditioning together and eventually appeared in their first movie, School Ties, in 1992. They went on to star in several more films together, including 1997's Good Will Hunting and 1999's Dogma, winning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for the former.

Damon and Affleck eventually started their own production company, Pearl Street Films, and continue to produce movies together.

More recently, they starred together in The Last Duel (2021), a historical action-drama film directed by Ridley Scott and costarring Adam Driver and Jodie Comer. Damon and Affleck also co-wrote the screenplay alongside Nicole Holofcener.

AIR is the first film from Affleck and Damon's new production company Artists Equity and marks the two-time Academy Award winner's first time directing since 2016's Live By Night.

Based on a true story, AIR stars Affleck as Philip Knight, the co-founder of Nike, Inc., while Damon plays Sonny Vaccaro, the sports-marketing executive who helped sign NBA legend Michael Jordan to Nike and launch Air Jordan sneakers.

Affleck and Damon appear in the film alongside Chris Tucker, Viola Davis, her husband Julius Tennon, Jason Bateman, Chris Messina, Marlon Wayans and Gustaf Skarsgård.

"I had a ball working with them and I called Ben The Player Coach cause he's an actor and director," Tucker, 51, recently told PEOPLE of his return to film. "So he knows how we roll, and he gives you that respect and that space to do your thing."

AIR swishes into theaters April 5.

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