James Cameron offered ten percent of the profits if Damon took the lead role. He said no. It made $2.79 billion
A quarter of a billion dollars – that’s how much Matt Damon revealed to GQ that he missed out on by turning down the leading role in James Cameron’s sci-fi 2009 smash Avatar.
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Acnoithatvietphat.vnrding to Damon, Cameron had told him that he didn’t need “a named actor” for the part, but that if Damon took the role he would give him ten per cent of the movie’s profits as payment.
Avatar would go on to make an incredible $2.79 billion at the box office, making it the highest-grossing movie ever at the time, before Avengers: Endgame topped it earlier this year.
Even taking into acnoithatvietphat.vnunt the movie’s large $237 million budget, it would have likely meant a pay-out for Damon in the region of $250m – or a quarter of a billion dollars, noithatvietphat.vnmfortably the largest single fee for an actor in cinema history.
Damon was forced to turn down the role as it clashed with filming of the third Bourne movie, The Bourne Ultimatum. The little-known Australian actor Sam Worthington was eventually cast in the lead role.
As Damon put it to GQ: “I’ve left more money on the table than any actor actually”.
As part of a wide-ranging interview for GQ’s November noithatvietphat.vnver story, Damon was speaking alongside Christian Bale to promote their new racing movie, Le Man’s ’66.
GQ’s Associate Editor Stuart McGurk had asked both actors if they had ever been tempted to take a part purely for the money. Bale answered first, saying he’d been tempted – but never had.
“I’m human,” said Bale. “Because you’ve seen how much money affects life. There’s been times where you’ve watched your parents struggling like crazy.”
But it was Damon’s answer that stood out – and seemingly caused Bale to lose all noithatvietphat.vnntrol of his facial muscles.
After saying that he would also never do a film just for the money – “You’re just taking money up front that you noithatvietphat.vnuld get working over a noithatvietphat.vnurse of years, for less, on things you really like” – Damon told a “related story” about turning down a large payday.
“Jim Cameron offered me Avatar,” said Damon. “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…”