According to a report from Page Six, Matt Damon recently revealed he declined the lead role in Avatar, as well as a paycheck of $250,000,000 due to his role in the Bourne film series. The 48-year-old long-time Hollywood star claimed that James Cameron wanted him as the lead, and promised a fat stack of cash to go with it.
Reportedly, Cameron said to Mr. Damon that he didn’t really need a specially named actor for the role, however, if he did choose to take it, the actor would take home 10% of the profits. Speaking with reporters from GQ Magazine, Damon claimed the director told him, “but if you take the part, I’ll give you ten percent.”
According to Damon, he had to decline the role because it would’ve caused problems with his Bourne film series. Matt stated that he has left more money on the table than any other actor, stating that his bigger regret would’ve been the problems it caused for the director of The Bourne Ultimatum, Paul Greengrass.
While he doesn’t necessarily miss starring in Avatar, what he regrets about saying no to Cameron is because there was an undertone in the conversation that if he declined the role, he would never get the opportunity to work with him ever again.
Fans of Cameron know he has only made six movies in his entire life, however, each one has done strikingly well at the box office, many of which are on the highest-grossing lists of all time. Damon added that he “passed on the chance” to work with Cameron, considering he probably won’t make many other films.
While he had to say no to the role in Avatar, the actor explained, his kids are still well-fed, and there’s always food on the table, so he’s doing alright. Avatar, before Avengers: Endgame, was the highest-grossing movie of all time.
During the Academy Awards in that season, Avatar lost to Kathryn Bigelow’s film, The Hurt Locker, which subsequently took home the award for Best Picture. The Hurt Locker starred Jeremy Renner, in the role that catapulted his career into stardom. Ironically, Renner later got a role in the Avengers franchise.