Matt Damon Explains Why He Passed Up on a $250 Million Pay Day with ‘Avatar’Javonni Brustow
Photo Credit: GQ; Bang Showbiz
Matt Damon is currently walking around kicking himself for missing out on literally one of the biggest acting paydays one could imagine and that was in starring as the lead in Avatar. The payout would have been $250 million according to British GQ, who he shared this with. He said, “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 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 percent of…'”
The amount in question again was $250 million that ultimately went to Sam Worthington.”I told John Krasinski this story when we were writing Promised Land. We’re writing this movie about fracking,” Damon shares. “We’re writing in the kitchen and we’re on a break and I tell him the story and he goes, ‘What?’ And he stands up and he starts pacing in the kitchen. He goes, ‘OK. OK. OK. OK. OK.’ 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.'”
And despite the amount of money lost is obviously such a big deal, that’s not the only source of regret he has about not doing the film. “So, yeah. I’ve left more money on the table than any actor, actually,” he admits. “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 realize that.”
“He works so infrequently, but his movies, you know all of them,” Damon continues. “So it feels like he’s made more than he has. I realized 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.”
And meanwhile, Damon’s not missing out on enjoying life or having work for that matter due to one missed check. In the film he’s currently starring in alongside Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari, Bale joked at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto last month that he had fun filming with Damon and felt Damon might have even enjoyed getting punched by him. And Damon said he was inspired by the monk-like discipline Bale has as it pertains to his craft.
We know turning down $250 million is tough but he of course had no idea it would make that at the time and the fact he chose to remain committed to a project he was already on is commendable. But hey, there’s always next time.