Even over a decade later, Matt Damon still chastises himself for turning down a role in James Cameron’s “Avatar.” The actor spoke with “Avatar” actress Zoe Saldana and said it was the “dumbest thing an actor ever did.”
Damon also praised Saldana for featuring in multiple films that brought in over $2 billion at the box office. The closest the actor has come to grossing $1 billion in a movie was “Interstellar,” which made $673 million. Cameron himself has said he’s consoled Damon over the decision, which cost him 10% of the film’s profit.
Read on to find out more.
Matt Damon Says His Rejection Was The ‘Dumbest Thing’
Matt Damon recently had an interview with Entertainment Tonight for a Stella Artois promotional campaign with “Avatar” star Zoe Saldana. During their conversation, Damon said his decision to turn down a role in the 2009 “Avatar” was the “dumbest thing an actor ever did in the history of acting.”
The 52-year-old would have earned about $250 million if he’d taken the role of Jake Sully, which Sam Worthington eventually portrayed. Saldana, who played the role of Neytiri, tried to reassure Damon by saying, “‘I don’t think your career suffered because of it, trust me.”
However, the “Good Will Hunting” star refused to stop moping about the loss. He asked, “Do you know what kind of movie that would’ve been if I hadbeen in it?” With Worthington and Saldana, “Avatar” grossed about $2.9 billion.
‘I’ve Never Been In A Movie That Made $1 Billion.’
During their conversation, Damon also praised Saldana for being involved in multiple films grossing over $2 billion. This includes the original “Avatar,” its sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water,” and Avengers films like “Infinity War” and “Endgame.”
Saldana said, “I didn’t plan it, trust me – I’ve just always felt blessed that I was picked, that I worked hard and auditioned. I’m not Matt Damon. I don’t get to turn down Avatars.” In response, Damon said, “I have probably done 50 movies. I’ve never been in a movie that made $1 billion.”
The closest the actor has come to grossing $1 billion in a film was “Interstellar,” which made $673 million at the box office. “The Martian” grossed about $630 million, while films like “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Saving Private Ryan” came in just under $500 million.
James Cameron Has Tried To Console Matt Damon
During a 2022 interview with BBC Radio, director James Cameron said he consoled Damon before over the decision, which cost him 10% of the film’s profit. Cameron said, “He’s beating himself up over this. And I think you know, ‘Matt, you’re kind of like one of the biggest movie stars in the world; get over it.'”
Cameron explained that at the time, Damon “had to do another ‘Bourne’ film” and was forced to “regretfully decline” the “Avatar” role. During a 2019 interview with British GQ, Damon also reflected on the choice and called it one of his “bigger regrets” as an actor.
He said, per Daily Mail, “James 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 will find an unknown actor and give it to him, because the movie doesn’t need you. But if you take the part, I’ll give you 10 percent.'”
Matt Damon’s Comments On The Barbie/Oppenheimer War
There’s been a heavy social media beef concerning the release of “Oppenheimer” and “Barbie” on July 21st. Since both films set their release date on the same day, fans have been discussing which will likely gross higher on opening weekend.
Damon recently spoke to Vanity Fair about the premiere war, saying, “This is the first I’m hearing about it. I haven’t paid any attention to that.” The actor further said he doesn’t understand the feud because “people are allowed to see two movies on a weekend. ‘Oppenheimer’ is one of them!”
Damon is a father to four girls, so they’d likely want to watch “Barbie” before “Oppenheimer,” in which their dad stars as General Leslie Groves. Regarding that debate, he said, “I’ll have to ask them that. If so, they’ll see two movies that weekend!”