When it comes to Matt Damon declining a part in “Avatar,” James Cameron had to chuckle. When Damon disclosed at the Cannes Film Festival in 2021 that Cameron had courted him to feature in the 2009 blockbuster and had also offered him a contract in which Damon would receive 10% of the movie’s box office receipts, the revelation quickly went viral. The success of “Avatar” led to it becoming the highest-grossing film of all time (without accounting for inflation), earning Damon upwards of $250 million.
According to Damon, “I will go down in history.” “You’ll never come across an actor who declined more money.”
During a recent interview with BBC Radio to celebrate the premiere of “Avatar: The Way of Water,” Cameron was questioned about Damon’s choice. When Damon’s name was mentioned, the director burst out laughing.
James Cameron observed, “He’s beating himself up about this.” And I really believe that you should realise that Matt is one of the biggest movie stars in the world. But there was nothing we could do to stop him from doing another “Bourne” movie that was on his runway. He had to reluctantly reject, therefore.
James Cameron said, “Must do it,” when the suggestion of Damon making a cameo appearance in a future “Avatar” sequel was made. We must act in order to restore global equilibrium. But he only receives 10%, screw that.
At Cannes, Damon said that he declined “Avatar” because he had already committed to working with filmmaker Paul Greengrass to complete the “Bourne” action trilogy. While it later became clear that passing on “Avatar” was not the wisest financial move, Damon insisted that it was the “moral” choice. John Krasinski participated in the talk with the actor at Cannes. “Nothing in your life would be different if you had done ‘Avatar,’ except that you and I would be having this conversation in space,” Krasinski said to Damon.
Video of James Cameron’s most recent BBC Radio interview:
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