The 50-year-old actor taught a master class at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday and revealed to his audience that not only did he pass up on a very famous role, but also a jaw-dropping paycheck.“I was offered a little movie called ‘Avatar,’” the star revealed, per Deadline. “[Director] James Cameron offered me 10% of it.”
Not adjusted for inflation, “Avatar” is the highest-grossing movie of all time, having earned $2.8 billion at the box office. The movie was temporarily dethroned by “Avengers: Endgame,” but squeaked back to the top after a re-release overseas.
“I will go down in history,” Damon continued at Cannes. “… You will never meet an actor who turned down more money.”
The Oscar winner said that he had to turn down the role because he was filming a Jason Bourne movie and made the “moral” choice not to abandon the action franchise.
In his place, Sam Worthington was cast in the lead role and earned an award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films for his work. Worthington, 44, is slated to appear in the film’s four upcoming sequels.
“There’s sequels?” Damon joked when an audience member pointed out that Cameron is working on additional films. “Oh my god.”
The “Good Will Hunting” star also recalled telling his frequent collaborator John Krasinski that he’d passed on the legendary film.
Damon said “The Office” star rose from their table in shock and said: “Nothing would be different in your life if you had done ‘Avatar,’ except you and me would be having this conversation in space.”
“Avatar” also starred Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez and more. The sequels are expected to add several big names to the franchise including Kate Winslet, Vin Diesel, Edie Falco and Michelle Yeoh.