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Matt Damon reveals the ‘3 most significant partnerships’ in his life — and where Ben Affleck fits in

The "Oppenheimer," star, 52, told Sunday TODAY's Willie Geist, "I feel like if I’m good at anything, it’s, like, picking partners."
/ Source: TODAY

Matt Damon may be an Oscar-winning screenwriter and one of Hollywood's most bankable stars, but if you ask him, his No. 1 talent is surrounding himself with the right people.

"I feel like if I’m good at anything, it’s, like, picking partners," the actor, 52, joked to Sunday TODAY's Willie Geist in the July 16 episode of Sunday Sitdown, the host's 300th interview.

One of those partners is Damon's longtime best friend, Ben Affleck. The pair, who jointly won a screenwriting Oscar for co-writing the 1997 drama “Good Will Hunting,” grew up two blocks away from another in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The “Oppenheimer” star said he considered Affleck one of the three most important people in his life.

The other two? Damon's wife, Luciana Barroso, with whom he shares four daughters, and his fellow water access activist and co-founder Gary White.

"Between Ben and my wife and Gary White ...Those are the three most significant partnerships in my life. And and all those things are going really well," said Damon, laughing.

Geist then asked a follow-up question: "In which order, Matt?"

After initially skirting the inquiry, noting "you’re supposed to divide your day up, right? Into thirds," Damon began saying "obviously" his wife would emerge at the top.

"There you go," Geist said, with a laugh, adding, "That's where I was helping you out there."

"That was a layup," Damon joked.

Damon's family joined him throughout his press tour for "Oppenheimer," which was cut short due to the official start of the SAG-AFTRA strike July 13.

At a screening of the film in Paris July 11, Damon attended the red carpet with his wife and three of his four daughters.

In his interview with Geist, Damon discussed his "Oppenheimer" character — Leslie Groves Jr., the general who directed the Manhattan Project and was responsible for monitoring the work of J. Robert Oppenheimer as he developed the atomic bomb.

Damon said director Christopher Nolan didn't use many special effects for the film.

"You know, with Chris it’s, like, he’s gonna blow s--- up," Damon said.

"It blows you out the door," he added.

Damon's role in "Oppenheimer" is just the latest in his long acting career. Earlier this year, Damon and Affleck marked a major milestone together when Damon starred in the Affleck-directed biographical sports drama "Air."

Having Affleck direct him turned out to be a "great" experience.

"You know, great directors really give you the freedom. It's a collaboration. It’s a partnership," Damon explained. "We definitely have an eye towards finding good stuff to do together, and, you know, but it’s just been fun."

On top of that, Damon appreciates that he and Affleck didn't have to mince words on the movie's set.

"You can waste so much time by trying to be polite," he explained. "And, you know, in the movie business and in theatre, they’ve developed a whole vocabulary for how to talk to somebody. And basically how to tell somebody they’re sucking."

He added, laughing, "And, like, we can just say, 'You suck.'"

But it all started with two kids "totally obsessed with acting and movies," Damon told Geist.

"We never doubted that this is what we were gonna do," he said.