Marc Maron Refused To Appear In One Of The Biggest Billion-Dollar Blockbusters Of All Time

After a bizarre audition, Marc Maron turned down the role of Dr. Ian Gavin in Avatar: The Way of Water.

By Britta DeVore | Updated

Avatar: The Way of Water

After backing major motion pictures including Titanic, Aliens, and The Terminator, James Cameron’s return to theaters with the long-awaited Avatar: The Way of Water certainly hasn’t let the famed filmmaker or his loyal following of fans down. And, while any actor would be eager to sign on for the project, which will now move into two more pictures, multi-hyphenated performer Marc Maron is thrilled that he didn’t get a part in the Avatar sequel. During a recent appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Maron regaled the hosts and listeners with what it was like auditioning for the role of a lifetime – and one he kept his fingers crossed that he wouldn’t get.

Initially going in for the part of Dr. Ian Garvin, Marc Maron remembers traveling to James Cameron’s Long Beach studio for his Avatar audition. He comically recalls going inside the studio, which he refers to as Cameron’s “city” joking that between the “people doing acrobatics down there, tightropes and cameras, people flying,” it felt “like Cirque du Soleil.” And that’s when he met the man at the top.

Admitting that he didn’t “remember the first [Avatar],” the actor says that he was still blown away by the setup that James Cameron had going on at his studio. Apparently, “there’s a room there where you can see the Titanic model” and some pieces from the director’s other legendary productions. Upon meeting Cameron, Marc Maron says that he was handed the script for Avatar: The Way of Water with the filmmaker warning him not to take any photos of it or to carry it outside of the building.

After being asked to review the script and give the character a go, Maron retreated to one of those themed rooms to look over his possible part. In what sounds like a bizarre fever dream, Marc Maron remembers telling Cameron that he was ready for his Avatar 2 audition and was then placed in an area surrounded by “people he just has around there to read parts and fly and be on dollies or whatever.” Given no direction whatsoever, Maron said that he was at the center of what sounded like utter chaos, trying to imagine “a boat or whatever” with all the distractions quite literally flying at his face.

“I’m just in the middle of this thing, totally untethered,” Marc Maron recalls adding that he had no idea what was going on around him as the acrobats did their thing while he read his bits from the Avatar 2 script. As annoying and disorienting as this experience would be for an actor who was really hoping for the part, Maron can look back on it now as just a funny story to tell at a party – or on a podcast. The actor revealed that he never wanted to take on the role because of what it would’ve signed him up for over the next several years.

According to Marc Maron, his agent was upfront in telling him that if he landed the part, filming for the subsequent Avatar features would force him to relocate to New Zealand for around four years. And although he already knew this heading into the audition, he took it anyway just for the thrill of it and to meet the legendary James Cameron. At the end of the day, not only did Maron end up with an excellent story to tell, but he says that Cameron also sent him a box of cigars to soften the blow of the actor not being cast – although after this, maybe he’ll want that present back.

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Marc Maron

With Marc Maron out of the picture, his Avatar role of Dr. Ian Gavin went to fellow comedian Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords). A New Zealand native who lives in the country full-time with his family, the casting was what Maron called “a no-brainer.” And, even with the film being a top grosser at the box office, Maron has zero regrets knowing that he’d rather spend his time and energy on other projects.