The role that got away for accomplished actor Matt Damon would be playing the lead in Avatar, but taking a look at our exclusive new artwork lets us imagine how this missed casting would have worked out. Back in 2019, Damon spoke about his biggest career regret in a British GQ interview, and for the Oscar-winning actor, it would be turning down Avatar. As he said at the time, Damon was offered the lead role of Jake Sully along with 10% of the movie’s box office profits, but he chose to instead focus on The Bourne Ultimatum. Avatar went on to become the highest-grossing movie of all time, costing Damon upwards of $250 million for passing on the offer.
“Jim Cameron offered me Avatar,” Damon told the magazine. “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.”
More than the money, the decision also meant missing out on working with Cameron, as Damon added: “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.”
Fortunately for Damon, he’s done well enough for himself without Avatar, noting that his “kids are all eating.” Ultimately, the role went to Sam Worthington, and given the success of Avatar, it’s clear that everything worked out just fine with the movie itself as well regarding its final casting. But for the filmgoers wondering what might have been if Damon had accepted the role, the new fan art gives us our best look yet at what that could’ve looked like.
You can view the full-size image below.
Will Avatar: The Way of Water Be Just as Successful as the Original?
The original Avatar was released in 2009, and it’s been a long time coming for Avatar: The Way of Water to make its way to movie theaters. So many years have passed that it’s hard to tell if the fan interest is quite as high for more Avatar as it seemed to be a decade ago. Even James Cameron isn’t entirely sure that Avatar 2 is going to be the hit that the first film was, though the studio is certainly hoping that won’t be the case given the film’s astronomical budget.
“We’re in a different world now than we were when I wrote this stuff,” Cameron recently told Total Film. “Maybe we’ll remind people what going to the theater is all about. This film definitely does that. The question is: how many people give a s*** now?”
Avatar: The Way of Water will be released in movie theaters on Dec. 16, 2022. You can watch the sequel’s official trailer below.