Conte Matal.  Some of you may not know the name of this Enid resident.  But I am willing to bet that most are familiar with his work.

Want to know something really cool? While Conte may not know you, he does know Adam Sandler, Tom Cruise and many more actors.

So, how does this Enid citizen know them?  He has helped make movies in which they star.  Matal, generally works as a second assistant director in Hollywood.

So, how did a local boy turn into a Hollywood success?  While directing was a dream of Conte’s, like most dreams, it was not an easy path.   At an early age, with a Super-8 camera and a little movie inspiration called Star Wars, Conte started making short films just for fun.  But he soon desired to do it as a career.

Like most, he had to start at the bottom.  And not even at the bottom of Hollywood.  He started off doing any sort of work he could find in the Oklahoma.  He worked on commercials for Bob Mills Furniture and Steve Bailey Honda.  He saw an ad for movie work in Tulsa in the back of Fangoria magazine.  He literally wrote them and called them every week until they told him if he would stop writing and calling, they would let him work on a movie…for free.

So, to T-Town he went. He was fortunate enough to make a film a film with John Carradine.  He worked hard enough doing whatever the company needed him to do and they gave him a small paycheck anyway just as a thank you.

Doing a few movies here and there Conte collected some contacts in the industry. He took the chance and went out to LA.  It took time, but eventually Matal’s hard work began to pay off.   He broke in on some low budget movies that led to more connections and experience.

It was in 1993 that things really busted loose for Matal, when he was able to work on the hit movie, Tombstone, starring Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, and a host of stars, including the legendary Charlton Heston.  “He was amazingly smart,” Matal said of Heston.  “He was telling me even that far back that they were going to come out with these discs that were much smaller than laser discs that would hold way more information.  That was over 5 years before the introduction of the DVD.”

The Enid native’s career continued to flourish and made numerous movies with some of the best writers, directors, and actors in the film industry.  He worked with the Coen brothers on the cult classic “The Big Lebowski.”  Director Wes Anderson and star Bill Murray on “Rushmore.”  He was able to work with Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro multiple times.  He’s worked with Tommy Lee Jones, Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and on an on.

 


 

Media Gallery:  As always feel free to click the images for much larger pictures.  (Photos provided)


 

Matal’s work is not just limited to movies.  His work on the pilot episode of Fox’s hit show “Glee” won an award from the Director’s Guild of America.

However, it is his work with Adam Sandler and Tom Cruise that currently stands out in his mind.  “With Sandler’s group, and him in particular, it’s like working with a family.”  He added, “One day I was on the set, and Sandler yelled across the way “HEY CONTE! I’M TALKING WITH YOUR BOY!”  I looked over and there was my son Tyler sitting and talking with Sandler.”  Matal ran over and asked to take a picture and Sandler insisted that they be funny pictures.  One shot has Sandler laughing in hysterics as if told the funniest joke.  The next, he is pretending to chew out young Tyler.  Something the Matal family will enjoy for generations.   Tyler has had the great fortune to be included in some of his Dad’s fun.  Tyler has appeared in “The Santa Clause 3” with Tim Allen and Martin Short, “That’s My Boy,” with Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg, and “Just Go With It,” again with Sandler and Jennifer Aniston.

In a move that can only be defined as 100% pure class, when Matal’s mother recently passed away, flowers were sent from Sandler.  Surely, a gesture that came from a deep place in Sandler’s heart and affection for Matal, his wife stated that the arrangement was “very beautiful.”

Cruise also earns high praise from Matal.  In fact, this today (Friday April 19th, 2013) the fruits of their work come to the silver screen, when ”Oblivion” hits theaters across the nation.  Speaking about Cruise, Matal said, “He’s such a professional.   Never late.  Ever.  Knows his lines.  Is very nice to everyone.”

Oddly, with so much attention paid to Cruise’s choice of religion, Matal said the topic has never even been broached once on set.

“I have been a tremendously lucky guy.  I’ve worked with some of the best people in the world.  It’s been fun.”

With most movies being shot beyond Hollywood, the need to live there is no longer a necessity.  Matal recently left Los Angeles and returned home to Enid with his wife, Kristi, and their son Tyler.  Matal has no set plans on his next movie or project as yet.

Conte Matal’s Filmography on IMDb