It’s not just the money. It is the chance to be part of one of the most iconic movies in cinema history. But it’s not even that the Hollywood A-lister now regrets. Then again, true to his down-to-earth nature, the star quipped, “But my kids are all eating. I’m doing OK.” Seriously, though, who on earth, or Pandora, would turn down ‘king of the world’ James Cameron?
Fans are currently waiting for not one but four more Avatar sequels to soar onto the screen.
Matt Damon will not be part of them.
He told Empire: “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 per cent.”
This is the standard practice of giving a big name a share of the profits. Damon’s share on the first film alone would have been £200million.
AVATAR STAR REVEALS WHAT’S NEXT FOR HIS CHARACTER IN SEQUELS
How does he feel about that now?
Damon said; “I told John Krasinski this story when we were writing Promised Land… and 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’.
“I’ve left more money on the table than any actor actually.”
It turns out loyalty to Damon’s ongoing commitments to The Bourne Identity franchise was a major factor: “It would have caused a problem for (director) Paul Greengrass and for all my friends on The Bourne Ultimatum, so I couldn’t do it.”
But the money and the Avatar project itself are not his biggest regret.
Damon explained: “Cameron said to me, ‘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.”