Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, one of his most famous film roles.
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, one of his most famous film roles.

$250m role Matt Damon turned down

Matt Damon is one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood - but even he has regrets over the roles that weren't.

The Academy Award-winning star, 48, revealed that he turned down the lead role of Jake Sully in James Cameron's 2009 megabit film Avatar and regrets not being able to work with the groundbreaking director.

Not only did he pass up a unique work experience, but he also gave up a potentially massive payday - something in the nine-figure range.

"Jim Cameron offered me Avatar," Damon told British GQ.

"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 gonna 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 10 per cent of the film's profits'.

 

Matt Damon could’ve been in Avatar. Picture: Nicholas Hunt/Getty
Matt Damon could’ve been in Avatar. Picture: Nicholas Hunt/Getty

"I told John Krasinski this story when we were writing Promised Land. … 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'," Damon explained. "So, yeah. I've left more money on the table than any actor actually."

GQ did the math. In US dollars, Damon would have been a quarter of a billion dollars richer since Avatar went on make $US2.79 billion at the box office. It was the top-grossing movie of all time until Avengers: Endgame dethroned it this summer.

Damon recalled that shooting Avatar would have conflicted with his Bourne series, and he "couldn't do it".

"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," Damon said.

 

Avatar director James Cameron with Sam Worthington.
Avatar director James Cameron with Sam Worthington.

 

"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 OK," he joked.

The role ultimately went to Australian actor Sam Worthington, a Hollywood unknown at the time.

This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission


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