In a recent interview with GQ during his promotional run for the upcoming film Ford v Ferrari, Matt Damon revealed that he had missed out on $250 million USD for turning down the lead role in James Cameron‘s 2009 sci-fi blockbuster Avatar.
According to Damon, Cameron had approached him with an offer to pay him 10 percent of what the movie would end up making: “[Cameron] 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 10 percent of [the profits],’” the actor said. Unfortunately, due to prior obligations to The Bourne Ultimatum Damon had to turn the offer down. Avatarwould go on to become the second highest-grossing film in history, pulling in $2.79 billion USD, trumped only by Avengers: Endgame after a 10-year record. The offer would have made Damon a whopping $250 million USD.
“I’ve left more money on the table than any actor actually,” Damon continued. “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 realize that. He works so infrequently, but his movies, you know all of them.”