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OTRC: Matt Damon on 'We Bought A Zoo': 'I don't think I could have played the role 10 years ago'

Matt Damon talks to OnTheRedCarpet.com about the movie 'We Bought A Zoo' in December 2011.

Matt Damon believes that having his own family helped him with his role in "We Bought A Zoo."

The actor stars in the film as Benjamin Mee, a widower with two children who purchases a rundown zoo. The movie is based on the true story of Mee and his family, who run the Dartmoor Zoological Park in England.

Damon, 41, began dating his 35-year-old wife Luciana soon after meeting her in 2003 in Miami. They married in 2005 and are parents to four daughters, including one from Luciana's previous relationship.

"I always saw it as this love story between this guy and his wife who is gone," Damon said about the film to OnTheRedCarpet.com special correspondent George Pennacchio of KABC Television. "I don't think I could have played the role 10 years ago. I think having kids and being married really made this -- I just related to the whole story."

Damon also said the film's director, Cameron Crowe, had good intentions for audiences for releasing the movie.

"Cameron described it to me, he said, 'I want this movie to be like a piece of joy. I want to put this piece of joy out in the world.' He said, 'i think we can use it right now,'" Damon explained. "And so -- so that was kind of what we all felt we were assembled to do, to help him do that."

The actor also talked about his daughters' education. Damon was a student at Harvard University but quit just a few credits shy of a degree. When asked what he'll tell his children if they tell him they don't wish to go to college, Damon said he would ask them "What else are you going to do? If you don't have a better option, you're going!"

"Look, I got a job, you know? That's why I left school," he added. "I will explain to them that I am on an extended leave of absence."

"I did not drop out," he said. "I still have my foot in the door."

"We Bought A Zoo" hit theaters on December 23. Check out the trailer below.

Reporting by George Pennacchio of KABC Television, parent company of the entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).

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