BOSTON – Matt Damon’s ties to the Boston Marathon are so personal they’re stained with sweat: He’s never run it himself, but his father and brother have four times.
That makes the Academy Award winner and Boston native the perfect choice to narrate the first full-length documentary about the marathon, the filmmakers said Monday.
Frank Marshall, the executive producer of “Boston” — which premieres in its namesake city on April 15, two days before the 121st running of America’s most venerable marathon — called Damon “the ideal narrator.”
The film, directed by Jon Dunham, chronicles the rich history of the marathon first run in 1897.
It will touch on the 2013 finish line bombings that killed three spectators and wounded 260 others but will focus on the euphoric race the year after the attacks. The production will be screened in more than 500 theaters nationwide on April 19.
In 2013, Damon wrote the introduction to “The B.A.A. at 125,” a history of the Boston Athletic Association, which stages the 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) race.
The actor said some of his most vivid childhood sports memories include cheering from the fire station in Newton, Massachusetts, which the runners pass just before they face Heartbreak Hill — a series of hills near the 20-mile mark, just when marathoners typically run out of gas and really start to struggle.
“I’ll never forget standing there in the crowd with my brother, Kyle, as we looked first for Bill Rodgers, and then, in the very same race as some of the most talented runners on earth, our smiling (and grimacing) 40-year-old dad,” Damon wrote.
Damon’s voice will lend the documentary an air of authenticity, said Tom Derderian, another “Boston” executive producer and the author of a newly released edition of “Boston Marathon: Year-by-year Stories of the World’s Premier Running Event.”
“He’s local. He has an affection for the city and for the event,” Derderian said. “Plus, he doesn’t have to fake the Boston accent.”
Damon produced “Manchester by the Sea,” which won an Academy Award last month for Kenneth Lonergan for best original screenplay and for Casey Affleck for best actor.
Emmy Award-winning composer Jeff Beal and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra will perform a live rendition of his original score for “Boston” at next month’s premiere at the Wang Theatre in Boston.
WILLIAM J. KOLE