In the annals of movie business, one actor stands alone as the man who walked away from what would eventually have become perhaps the biggest single-film paycheck of all time: Matt Damon. Damon infamously turned down James Cameron’s offer to star in the original “Avatar”. Had he agreed, Cameron would have given Matt a whopping ten percent of the film’s box office gross. With a global take of almost $2.8 billion, that would have entitled Damon to a payday well north of $250 million. Now, Cameron himself is responding to the story.
Cameron recently sat down with BBC Radio to promote his new “Avatar” sequel “Avatar: The Way of Water,” and was asked about Damon’s now infamous decision to do a “Bourne Identity” sequel instead of what would become the highest grossing blockbuster in movie history at that point.
After laughing immediately at the question, he said that Damon should try to stop “beating himself up” over what could have been:
“And I really think you know, ‘Matt, you’re kind of like one of the biggest movie stars in the world, get over it.’ But he had to do another ‘Bourne’ film which was on his runway and there was nothing we could do about that. So he had to regretfully decline.”
Then, Cameron was asked whether a Damon cameo might be arranged for a future “Avatar” film. His answer was somewhat tongue-in-cheek and in his typical conversational style:
“Must do it. We have to do it so the world is in equilibrium again. But he doesn’t get ten percent, f*ck that.”
Matt Damon’s bank account aside, his potential casting in “Avatar” is one of those things that fans will continue to debate for years to come. And as both Cameron and Damon’s friend John Krasinski have now pointed out, Damon is doing pretty well for himself even without a payday of more than a quarter of a billion dollars from “Avatar.” Of course, that doesn’t factor in the untold hundreds of millions more he would be getting to star in the new and subsequent sequels to the film, but there’s no point in getting upset about that either!