Famously known as the highest-grossing film of all time, James Cameron’s fantasy adventure Avatar, which took some liberties from Disney’s Pocahontas and Victor Fleming’s classic Gone with the Wind, made $2.8 billion dollars at the box office, immediately spawning the production of four sequels.
The cast and crew of the original film subsequently took home a large paycheck from the 2009 project, leaving a particularly bitter pill to take for one omitted Hollywood actor. Whilst still in the casting process for the film, James Cameron was so desperate to get Hollywood icon Matt Damon onboard that he offered the actor a 10% stake in the film’s profits, though Damon turned the film down due to his commitments to the Jason Bourne film series.
That equates to a £200 million loss for Damon who would’ve capitalised on Avatar’s unprecedented international success, confessing his regret in a recent Cannes interview, the actor stated: “I was offered a little movie called Avatar. I will go down in history. You will never meet an actor who turned down more money than me”.
Speaking at the Cannes film festival in France, Damon explained: “I decided a long time ago that there was no point trying to curate an image, just don’t worry about it too much — and don’t take yourself too seriously”.
Continuing, he discussed the turning point in his career, “I was 27 when my life really changed and I became famous, so I did get to live quite a bit of my life as an anonymous person. And I really didn’t want the fame to infect my relationships”.
Currently at the festival to promote his upcoming movie Stillwater, where he plays an oil worker who heads to France to help his estranged daughter accused of murder, Damon prepared for the role by hanging out with real-life rig men in Oklahoma. Describing his experience, Damon said: “They were family men and one guy took us to his house for a barbeque and his daughter pulled out a guitar and started playing church songs. We had a great barbeque and drank some beer and then went and shot shotguns”.