Matt Damon

Ulli Schoenknech (right) was at Modella Art Gallery when she thought she recognized a famous visitor. She said she is 100% sure it was actor Matt Damon. 

Courtesy/Modella Art Gallery

Hey, that looks like someone famous.

Ulli Schoenknecht is a volunteer at Modella Art Gallery. She was working a Sunday shift at the non-profit gallery in downtown Stillwater when she thought she recognized a visitor. It wasn’t just any visitor. It was someone she had seen in movies.

“This guy looks like Matt Damon, but I wasn’t sure what to make of it,” Schoenknecht said when recapping the experience during a phone interview.

“This is a situation where, if you are not sure, you don’t want to start a conversation about that.”

Schoenknecht heard the looks-like-Damon visitor speak to a person who accompanied him to the gallery. After hearing his voice, she was sure it was the actor. But she refrained from making contact and instead asked another couple if they had any questions about the gallery.

“Then he turned around and looked straight at me and, by then, I knew it must be him,” Schoenknecht said. “I asked him, ‘Are you Matt Damon?’ and he said, ‘Yes.’ And, of course, I was totally starstruck and in the moment didn’t know what to do or what to say.”

Schoenknecht welcomed Damon and his guest to the gallery and told them she was glad they were checking it out. She asked what brought them to Oklahoma, and the answer was research for an upcoming movie.

The other couple in the gallery asked if he would mind being photographed, according to Schoenknecht. He agreed. At that point, Schoenknecht figured it was OK to make a similar request. He obliged.

“We did a little chit chat, and that was it,” Schoenknecht said. “He left, and I was flabbergasted and quite stunned. This is not something you expect when you are sitting in small-town America. He is a big deal. He is a big movie star. He was incredibly nice and friendly. Of course, for me, it was a great experience.”

Was it Damon? It would have been impolite to ask to see identification.

“Of course, in the first moment you wonder is this really him?” Schoenknecht said. “But I personally, I am 100% sure it was him specifically because of the voice.”

Schoenknecht said she has seen many of Damon’s movies. There are many that she likes. “ ‘Good Will Hunting’ was a very good one, and ‘The Martian’ was excellent. I liked ‘The Martian’ a lot. He was really good in that one.”

Schoenknecht said she is on the gallery’s board. The fallout from the Sunday visit has been publicity for the gallery.

Said Schoenknecht: “We are thrilled at the response we are now getting.”

Damon sightings also were reported in other Oklahoma towns.

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Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389

Twitter: @JimmieTramel

Scene Writer

Jimmie is a pop culture and feature writer at the Tulsa World. A former Oklahoma sports writer of the year, he has written books about former Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer and former Oklahoma State football coach Pat Jones. Phone: 918-581-8389