Matt Damon has just addressed the elephant that’s been walking around the room for years.
The 52-year-old star really did turn down a lead role for James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar.
And it turned out to be a rather expensive decision.
James Cameron offered Damon the lead role in ‘Avatar’ and 10 percent of the film’s box office but the actor turned it down.
Friendly reminder, Avatar grossed over $2.8 billion at the box office.
In other words, Damon would’ve theoretically made close to $280 million, which would’ve been Hollywood’s biggest payday by far.
For the record, the role eventually went to Sam Worthington, who played Corporal Jake Sully.
During a recent interview at Cannes Film Festival, Damon explained why he turned the offer.
“I turned down [Avatar], you’ll never meet an actor that turned down more money than me,” Damon said.
“[James] Cameron called me and he told me the movie didn’t need a star [because] the movie was the star.”
But he said James Cameron still wanted him to star in his film, and was ready to offer him 10 percent to do it.
Damon said he turned it down because he was still doing Jason Bourne, and he needed to be around for post-production.
In the end, he said it didn’t feel right to just ditch the Jason Bourne project to jump on the Avatar one.
Cameron told the BBC he knows the actor “is [still] beating himself up over this”.
The Oscar-winning director jokingly said Damon should just “get over it” since he’s “kind of like one of the biggest movie stars in the world”.
Damon made around $25 million for each Jason Bourne movie, except for the first one, for which he was ‘only’ paid $10 million.
While that’s nothing to sneeze at, we can only imagine what it must feel like to miss out on a $280m payday.