Damon: A "Real Somebody"
Damon is the archetypal '90s heartthrob. Not only is he
a good actor with movie star looks; he also wrote a screenplay
in slacker style (on the side, in his spare time) with his
best friend Ben Affleck. Together the two twenty-something
stars bagged a "Best Original Screenplay" Oscar in 1998
for Good Will Hunting, their first time out
of the gate. The Talented Mr. Ripley, based
on the 1955 novel by Patricia Highsmith, stars Damon as
the title character in a film that many have described as
a modern noir, and more than a little Hitchcockian in style.
Capricorn Who Labored Behind The Scenes
we hearken back to the late 1940s, Patricia Highsmith (a
Capricorn) was writing scenarios for Superman comics. Superman,
like many of the characters Highsmith would later go on
to create in her fiction, is the consummate double. Bumbling
Clark Kent is an everyman who never seems to measure up
to his super powerful alter ego. By 1949, Highsmith was
ready to write a serious piece of fiction that dealt with
her own concept of "the double." Fellow writer Truman Capote
(a Libra) used his influence to get her accepted into Yaddo,
the renowned writers colony in New York.
at Yaddo, Highsmith wrote her first novel, Strangers
on a Train, about a dangerous fellow without a purpose
in life who pitches the idea of "trading murders" with a
successful man he meets while traveling. The book "made"
Highsmith, especially after Alfred Hitchcock (a Leo) bought
the rights to the novel and made it into a well-known suspense
Balance of Power
1955, Highsmith published The Talented Mr. Ripley,
a variation on the double theme, but this tale was much
deeper, more subtle and more plausible. The book is the
story of Tom Ripley, a poor young outsider with many talents,
little money and a burning desire for the status and material
pleasures of wealth. When he happens to meet Mr. Greenleaf,
a rich shipping magnate, his luck changes. He is sent to
Italy to bring Greenleaf's son Dickie back home to the States.
Once in Italy, Ripley slowly becomes obsessed with leading
Dickie's life—truly "the good life"—with all the freedom
and money a young man of good taste can enjoy. I won't give
away the plot, but the obsession naturally turns more and
one can see the themes of Ripley as astrologically
quite resonant. The desire for the superficial pleasures
of life can be described as the shadow or dark (noir!) side
of the sign Libra, which is symbolized by the scales (the
balance of power). Evolved Libras possess many artistic
talents and social graces, like Damon and his co-star in
the film, Libra Gwyneth Paltrow. But unevolved Libras may
want all the beauty of life at their feet without having
to work for it.
are Capricornian themes at work in the Ripley tale as well.
Although one of the best traits of the sign of the goat
is the ability to work patiently, and with integrity and
persistence, to achieve success and status in the world,
unevolved Capricorns may just be concerned with the rewards:
power and prestige.
Four Elements Connecting Ripley: Air (Libra), Earth (Capricorn),
Fire (Leo) and Water (Scorpio)
interesting that Damon's Moon is in Capricorn, the same
sign as writer Highsmith's Sun and also as Jude Law’s Sun.
(Law plays "Dickie Greenleaf" in the film.) Just as you
can rub two crayons together on a piece of paper and make
a third color, if you take the characteristics of Libra
and Capricorn and put them together you might come up with
the sign Leo. After all, Libras are also known to be the
most partnership-oriented sign, and Capricorns one of the
proudest and the best able to lead. Leo synthesizes all
those characteristics, and adds a touch of its own drama
and warmth to the mix.
seems fitting then, that Capricorn novelist Highsmith was
able to rise to fame through her partnership with Leo Alfred
Hitchcock, and Damon was able to reach his greatest success
(so far) with Leo Ben Affleck. Both Hitchcock and Affleck
happen to be Leos with Moon in Scorpio, the sign that is
most associated with a "dark side."
Law also has Mars (the traditionally "male" feeling planet
of passion and aggression) in dark, sexy, secretive Scorpio,
exactly conjunct (in the same sign and degree as) Matt Damon's
Neptune, the planet of illusion and also the planet most
modern astrologers associate with film. The astrological
connections and themes in the Ripley film do seem to be
very Neptunian. Neptune often gives us the feeling that
there are no boundaries between us. Sounds just like the
theme of Ripley—the idea that one person can take over another
a final footnote, in 1995, just as early work on the Ripley
film began, writer Highsmith died, at age 74. She left her entire
estate to the writers colony Yaddo, where Libra Truman Capote first
helped her to jump-start her career.