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Maine actor Matthew Delamater stars alongside Ben Affleck in 'The Tender Bar'

Matthew Delamater from the Lakes Region area found acting later in life but it quickly became his passion.

BRIDGTON, Maine — The lucky among us know exactly what they want to do with their lives but for most, it’s a long road with many twists and turns. Matthew Delamater never thought his path would lead to the stage, but now he can't think of doing anything else. 

Delamater grew up in Oxford, went to St. Joseph's College in Standish, and started a career in finance. Life was going well for Delamater in his 20s but he felt something was lacking so he reached out to a high school mentor, Sally Jones, who was involved in theater. Within a week, Delamater landed his first part in "The Music Man," staged by the Oxford Hill Music and Performing Arts Association. 

"I fell madly in love with it," Delamater said. 

Over the next decade, Delamater would star in dozens of plays, including some at The Public Theater in Lewiston where he began to rub shoulders with paid actors from all over the country. 

"One of my earlier breaks in terms of an acting standpoint was getting to act with The Public Theater in Lewiston," he said.

After Massachusetts created tax incentives for the local filmmaking industry in 2006, Delamater got a Boston-based agent and started traveling attending auditions there. He landed a couple of commercials and worked as an extra on big-budget films like "American Hustle" and "Joy." 

"Maybe you got to be on camera but I didn't really care about that as much as the process ... I wanted to be in the room and see that kind of daily experience of making a film," Delamater said. 

Not having any professional training as an actor, Delamater treated every role, no matter how small, as an opportunity to learn the art of acting. 

"My director, I treated them like my professor or my teacher in that regard and I liked that process, I liked learning," he said.

In 2015, Delamater starred in his first supporting role alongside Jason Sudeikis in "Tumbledown."

"The Tender Bar" is a coming-of-age story about a fatherless boy looking for role models at his uncle's bar. It is based on the best-selling memoir by J.R. Moehringer and the film is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. The story takes place in Long Island, New York but was filmed in Massachusetts and directed by George Clooney. 

When Delamater was selected by George Clooney for the supporting role of a barfly and close friend of Ben Affleck's character, he couldn't believe it. Filming began at the beginning of 2021 and even though Delamater was just a couple of hours from his wife and two young children in Maine, he could not return home for two months amid COVID-19  set restrictions, which meant he spent a lot of time with his fellow actors. 

"George Clooney, Ben Affleck, these are some of the biggest stars in the game. They are kind, caring, compassionate human beings. They are the perfect examples of you don't have to be a jerk to be successful," Delamater said. 

Delamater is still buzzing about the experience of staring in the film, grateful for the support he's felt from his family, friends, and for his work at Oxbow Brewing Company, where he's the director of finance. 

"You can't go out and go for your dreams and passions without a lot of people helping you ... telling you, you can do it," he said.

Delamater hopes lawmakers in Maine will soon pass tax incentive laws to attract films here, but he has no plans to leave the state. 

"I love Maine. I love the life you can have here and my people and my family are here so for better or for worse this is my world," he said. 

Delamater is passionate about supporting the acting community in Maine, which is why he's currently president of The Norway Opera House Corp. which is dedicated to restoring and bringing back to life the landmark Opera House there. 

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