Matt Damon has made a lot of winning choices throughout his career. He’s starred in nearly every kind of movie and has had a penchant for choosing just the right roles that suit his talents. But the actor recently came out and admitted that, from at least a financial perspective, he might have made a massive mistake a few years ago with a role he was offered. Per Deadline, Damon was part of a masterclass during the Cannes Film Festival and mentioned to the crowd that he turned down a chance to star in James Cameron’s Avatar.
This wasn’t the only bad news Matt Damon put out there when it came to the choice to turn down the role in Avatar. In addition to passing on a huge role in one of the bigger science fiction movies ever, apparently, there was some money left on the table too. According to Damon, Cameron also offered him 10% of the box office money too. For those counting at home, Avatar has taken in roughly $2.85 billion (with a “B”) since coming out in 2009. If Damon’s reported offer was correct, that would total $285 million dollars (give or take). There’s a reason Damon went on to say, “I will go down in history… you will never meet an actor who turned down more money.” He isn’t kidding there.
At least Matt Damon had a somewhat functional and logical explanation for turning down the Avatar part when it was originally offered. He was filming Bourne movies and according to the actor, accepting the Cameron offer would have left that other franchise without a star. He chose to honor the work he was already doing there instead of jumping on board with James Cameron. But man, that one has to sting a lot. He also threw in that he was just finding out about the Avatar sequels which are in the works now.
Matt Damon’s masterclass was part of the publicity he’s doing for his latest movie, Stillwater which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this week. It tells the story of Damon’s character, an oil driller, whose daughter is falsely accused of murder in France. He moves to the country in an attempt to clear her name. The film has received overwhelmingly positive reviews so far, sitting at 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. And audiences were so moved by the performance that Matt Damon received a nearly-five minute standing ovation when the film had finished.
Matt Damon could be in award-season consideration when it’s all said and done for Stillwater. And he has some other work in the pipeline as well. He’ll actually make a return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a role in Thor: Love and Thunder which is set to hit the screen next year. He played an Asgardian actor in the previous flick and should be in line for a similar role again. And he’s also in post-production on The Last Duel as well.
Though Matt Damon can joke about the role he turned down for Avatar and the money it cost him, he’s still an actor at the top of his game with more big parts to come.