Matt Damon has revealed that he declined the opportunity of a lifetime, to play a part in one of the most successful films of all time…
And he deeply regrets his decision to turn it down.
In 2021, Damon opened up about his choice, stating that when James Cameron spoke to him about the role, he rejected the opportunity for the greatest salary of his whole career.
Released in UK cinemas in December, Avatar: The Way of Water made over $2 billion at the box office.
The first film ended with its hero, Jake, being transferred permanently into his avatar body (aka the big blue body), so that he can live on Pandora without dying, as humans can’t cope with the planet’s atmosphere.
This also has the bonus effect of meaning that Jake can live with the Na’vi, and more specifically, his love Neytiri for the rest of his life.
We simply couldn’t imagine anyone else playing the main characters of Jake and Neytiri, but what you might not know, is that Cameron actually had his sights set on Matt Damon to play the lead.
It turns out that in exchange for Damon’s participation, he was ready to forfeit 10% of the whole movie, which would have been a whopping $250 million. However, he admitted back in 2021 that he “had to turn down Avatar.”
He added: “James Cameron offered me 10 percent of Avatar if I did it, but I was working on post-production for The Bourne Ultimatum.”
But the thing that upsets him most of all, isn’t that he lost out on the huge sum of money, it’s that he may have lost the chance to collaborate with one of the biggest directors in the world.
And as we all know, James Cameron has only created a handful of films during his career, so the likelyhood of Damon getting another opportunity like that is very slim.
Speaking out again back in 2019 for GQ, he said: “I’ve left more money on the table than any actor actually.
“Cameron said to me in the course of that conversation, ‘Well, you know, I’ve only made six movies.’
“I didn’t realise that … I realised in having to say no that I was probably passing on the chance to ever work with him.
“So that sucked and that’s still brutal.”
While it might be difficult to forget, it’s not like the Bourne trilogy wasn’t a wildly popular and profitable franchise.