Matt Damon revealed that he passed on an opportunity to star in James Cameron’s Avatar, walking away from a hefty cut of the profits in doing so and "leaving more money on the table than any actor."
"Jim Cameron offered me Avatar," Damon said in an interview with 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 going to 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 ten per cent of...' So, on the subject of money…"
"I told John Krasinski this story when we were writing Promised Land," he continued. "We’re writing this movie about fracking. 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.' So, yeah. I’ve left more money on the table than any actor actually. 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 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. 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."
According to GQ, Damon’s decision could have seen him earn approximately a quarter of a billion dollars.
Matt Damon will reprise his role as Loki in Kevin Smith’s upcoming movie, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. Written and directed by Kevin Smith, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot stars Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Melissa Benoist Shannon Elizabeth, Jason Lee, Donnell Rawlings, Joey Lauren Adams and numerous other stars including Matt Damon. The film hits theaters Oct. 15, 2019.