Matt Damon has been a power broker in Hollywood for years. Damon’s career as an actor and producer has netted him critical acclaim, not to mention many millions of dollars. He doesn’t have a perfect pedigree however and recently revealed a very costly mistake. Gossip Cop has the story.
Turned Down $280 Million
Cast your mind back to the mid-2000s. Damon was completing the Bourne and Ocean’s trilogies, cementing his already lofty status as one of Hollywood’s top leading men. Around this time, James Cameron approached him about working on a movie together. Cameron wanted Damon so bad that he made him an extremely lucrative offer.
During the Cannes Film Festival, Damon explained what happened next. He said, “I was offered a little movie called Avatar, James Cameron offered me 10% of it.” Avatar would go on to gross a then-record $2.8 billion dollars. This means Damon unwittingly turned down $280 million dollars, or about how much it cost to make Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Damon continued, “I will go down in history… you will never meet an actor who turned down more money.” He was hard at work on the Bourne: Ultimatum at the time, and didn’t want to leave the franchise waiting. The role of Jake Skully went to much less expensive Sam Worthington instead, and the rest is history.
As you’d expect, Damon has a sense of humor about the whole thing. The Departed star recalled that when he told John Krasininski this story, the Office star said “nothing would be different in your life if you had done Avatar, except you and me would be having this conversation in space.”
Damon’s career was completely unscathed after turning this role down. Gossip Cop has seen loads of stories about actors nearly turning down their big break, which would have been even worse. Ana de Armas almost turned down Knives Out before speaking to producers about stereotypes. Chris Evans rejected the role of Captain America, only for his friends to talk him into it. Bryan Cranston almost turned down Malcolm in the Middle because the character of Hal was unappealing.
Lucky for these three, they each reached a different conclusion than Damon, and their careers (and wallets) have boomed.
Other Damon Stories
Gossip Cop encounters stories about Damon all the time. More often than not, tabloids are targeting his marriage to Luciana Barroso. We’ve debunked numerous reports about the two careening toward a divorce, but they’re still happily married. Damon would be an even richer man if he’d taken on Avatar, but he’s still got Thor: Love and Thunder money coming in. We think he’ll survive.