Matt Damon reveals why he turned down 'Avatar' offer

Damon has insisted he couldn't have left his friends "in the lurch" by quitting the Bourne movies.
Matt Damon | Pic: IANS Photo
Matt Damon | Pic: IANS Photo

Hollywood A-lister Matt Damon was "desperate" to work with James Cameron on the Avatar franchise, but he has no regrets about turning down the offer to continue with the Bourne franchise.

The The Bourne Identity star, 52, is thought to have missed out on a $250 million payday by turning down the role of Jake Sully, which went to Sam Worthington, in Cameron's 2009 sci-fi epic.

But Damon has insisted he couldn't have left his friends "in the lurch" by quitting the Bourne movies.

In an interview, he said: "I’m sure it’s the most money an actor ever turned down, you know? I had a contract. I was in the middle of shooting the Bourne movie and I knew that we were going to need work at the end, and I had to get it all the way to the finish line and I would have to leave the movie kind of early and leave them in the lurch a little bit and I didn’t want to do that.”

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“I desperately wanted to work with Cameron. I mean, because he worked so rarely", he added.

‘Avatar’ remains the highest-grossing movie of all time with $2.9 billion worldwide.

A report further states that Damon, who has played lead character Jason Bourne in the five Bourne movies, revealed he once told actor John Krasinski that he turned down Avatar, and the star insisted Damon wouldn't have changed if he had taken on the movie, apart from being rich enough to own a space station.

Asked if he would've "put off the Bourne series" if he had known Avatar was going to be the biggest grossing movie of all time, he said: "This is like ... this is like that question."

He said, "No it’s less much less consequential, that was just a joke. Dumb ... but no, I mean, I don’tknow how I could have left all my friends in the lurch. You know what I mean? It would have ... my favourite reaction to this was, I told John Krasinski, we were writing this little movie a long time ago called 'Promised Land' and we were in my kitchen and it was a Saturday morning and we were on a break".

"I said, 'Yeah,' I tell him about Avatar, and he launches himself out of the chair. He starts pacing the kitchen, he goes, 'OK, OK, OK. OK, OK. Nothing in your life would be different today if you had done that movie, except you and I would be having this conversation in space'.I would have been the same guy, I just would have had a space station", he added.

In May, Damon said turning down a role in Avatar was the "dumbest thing an actor ever did".

He was offered 10 per cent of the movie's box office profits if he took on the part, and by turning down the role he also missed out on the chance to team up with fellow lead actor Zoe Saldana (Neytiri).

Damon told a media organiation: "It’s the dumbest thing an actor ever did in the history of acting."

But Saldana told him: "I don’t think your career suffered because of it, trust me."

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She joked: "I've just always felt blessed that I was picked, that I worked really hard and auditioned.

"I'm not Matt Damon. I don't get to turn down Avatars."

Damon added: "I've probably done, like, 50 movies. I've never been in a movie that made $1 billion."

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