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You Won’t Believe What Role Matt Damon Turned Down — & How Much Money He Would Have Made Saying Yes

With a star as famous as Matt Damon, it’s hard to imagine that he has any professional regrets — but it turns out that one bypassed project does still bother him. Damon turned down the lead role in James Cameron’s Avatar, and the chance to get 10 percent of the movie’s profits along with it. Damon isn’t clear on why exactly he turned it down, but we assume he didn’t know it would become one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. Though we’re not exactly concerned for Damon on a financial level, that still must sting.

Damon finally spilled his long-held secret during an interview with British GQ. “Jim Cameron offered me Avatar,” the Good Will Hunting star confessed. “And when he offered it to me, he 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.'” GQ later noted that this would have netted Damon $250 million by this point in time.

Damon continues his tale: “I told John Krasinski this story when we were writing Promised Land … we’re on a break and I tell him the story and he goes, ‘What?’ And he stands up and he starts pacing in the kitchen. He goes, ‘OK. OK. OK. OK. OK.’ He goes, “If you had done that movie, nothing in your life would be different. Nothing in your life would be different at all. Except that, right now, we would be having this conversation in space.'” LOL. Guess we know what Krasinki would have done in his situation.

So, what does Damon conclude from all this? “I’ve left more money on the table than any actor,” he said. His biggest regret, though, is passing up the chance to work with the legendary Cameron, as opposed to the actual film: “He works so infrequently, but his movies, you know all of them,” Damon said. “I realized in having to say no that I was probably passing on the chance to ever work with him. So that sucked and that’s still brutal. But my kids are all eating. I’m doing OK.”

Way to keep your chin up, Matt Damon. We’re not so sure we’d be as cool in the face of $250 million passed up — but then again, we’ll echo Damon’s sentiment that he’s doing just fine without it.

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