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Matt Damon Says James Cameron Offered Him Lead Role in Avatar

October 3, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Matt Damon

Matt Damon has revealed that he turned down a ridiculous amount of money without knowing it, as James Cameron offered the lead role in Avatar with points against the profits. Damon and Christian Bale were speaking with GQ promoting their new film Ford v. Ferrari and were asked if they’ve been tempted to do “take a big-money film that you know is probably going to be bad.”

Damon said that whiule he has never been tempted to do that, “In a related story… Jim Cameron offered me Avatar. And when he offered it to me, he goes, ‘Now, listen. I don’t need anybody. I don’t need a name for this, a named actor. If you don’t take this, I’m going to find an unknown actor and give it to him, because the movie doesn’t really need you. But if you take the part, I’ll give you ten per cent of [the profits].'”

He added, “I told John Krasinski this story when we were writing Promised Land … I tell him the story and he goes, ‘What?’ And he stands up and he starts pacing in the kitchen. He goes, ‘Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay.’ He goes, ‘If you had done that movie, nothing in your life would be different. Nothing in your life would be different at all. Except that, right now, we would be having this conversation in space.’ So, yeah. I’ve left more money on the table than any actor actually. I mean, the bigger thing still to this day, my bigger regret is – it would have caused a problem for Paul Greengrass and for all my friends on The Bourne Ultimatum, so I couldn’t do it – but Cameron said to me in the course of that conversation, ‘Well, you know, I’ve only made six movies.’ I didn’t realise that. He works so infrequently, but his movies, you know all of them. So it feels like he’s made more than he has. 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. But my kids are all eating. I’m doing okay.”

Cameron cast Sam Worthington in Avatar and Worthington did not get points on the profits that we know of. The film is one of the biggest film hits of all-time with $2.79 billion worldwide against a 237 million budget.