Current Ford v Ferrari star Matt Damon has spoken on his decision to refrain from Avatar participation before, revealing years ago that he had turned down a part in what would eventually become a massively popular franchise. Now, amid the required Ford v Ferrari press run with co-star Christian Bale, Damon has detailed exactly what he walked away from deciding to Avatar it up with James Cameron and company.
Among talk on how both have passed up projects that ultimately went to the other, the new GQ UK discussion shifted to Avatar territory, with Damon noting the exact backend points he stood to gain.
"[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…' So, on the subject of money…," Damon said, followed by Bale apparently making a sound akin to Wile E. Coyote brushing off an anvil head-slap.
Per GQ, that percentage would now amount to as much as a quarter of a billion dollars.
Damon added that he recently told this story to Promised Land writing partner John Krasinski, who accurately pointed out that the financial windfall would have likely resulted in them holding writing sessions somewhere deep in the outer regions of space instead of a kitchen on Earth.
"I've left more money on the table than any actor actually,” Damon said. "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."
And, on the topic of Avatar, the next couple decades will be quite filled with sequels. The most recent release schedule has Avatar 2 arriving Dec. 17, 2021. From there, a new sequel will arrive every other year, concluding with Avatar 5 on Dec. 17, 2027. Matt Damon appears in none of them.