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Cameron Crowe seduced Matt Damon into We Bought a Zoo with a mix tape

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Matt Damon in Cameron Crowe's 'We Bought a Zoo'

There are a lot of routes a director can take when pursuing an actor for one of his/her films, many of them legitimate and respectable. Routes that would keep the director's sense of dignity intact. Yet, for some reason, Cameron Crowe decided to take a page from the dating guide of fifteen-year-old Smiths fans and made Matt Damon a mix CD to woo him into We Bought a ZooThe only way that this story could get any Cameron Crowier is if Crowe stood outside Damon's house with a boombox held over his head and played the compilation himself. 

We Bought a Zoo is the story of a grieving widower with two children who makes the surprising decision to buy and restore a dilapidated zoo. Now, I don't know how Damon wasn't just chomping at the bit to star in the film, but apparently he wasn't and Crowe refused to accept defeat. The Almost Famous director traveled to the set of the Coen brothers' True Grit where Damon was working and brought along the Zoo script, a copy of Local Hero (a 1983 film in which an oil-company exec buys a remote Scottish village), and his homemade mix. Damon listened to Crowe's music while on a run and by the end was convinced to join the film's cast. As Damon says, "I kind of finished that run and went, 'That's a really good feeling.'" What songs had Damon feeling good, you ask? Well the playlist reads as follows:

1. Save It for Later – Pete Townshend
2. I'm Open (Live) – Eddie Vedder
3. War of Man (Live)  – Neil Young
4. Soul Boy – The Blue Nile
5. Mohammed's Radio – Jackson Browne
6. Sanganichi – Shugo Tokumaru
7. Airline to Heaven – Wilco
8. Buckets of Rain – Bob Dylan
9. The Heart of the Matter (Live) – Don Henley
10. I Will Be There When You Die – My Morning Jacket
11. Ain't No Sunshine – Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
12. Child of the Moon – Rolling Stones
13. If I Am a Stranger – Ryan Adams
14. Concrete Sky – Beth Orton
15. Helpless (Live) – Neil Young
16. Don't Be Shy (no piano) – Cat Stevens
17. Nerstrand Woods – Mark Olson And The Creekdippers

It's not exactly surprising that Crowe's mix had Damon "feeling good" — it's hard not to feel good when listening to Lite FM. (Ba-zing!) But, to be fair, if any man made me a mix tape, he would automatically get a pass to second base. And that's at the very least. Did you hear that, Cameron? Not only would you get an actress, but you would get some serious heavy petting. That's better than anything Kate Hudson has done for you, isn't it?