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Matt Damon Discusses How 'Bourne Ultimatum' Scheduling Kept Him Out Of 'Avatar'

by Gabe Toro
February 28, 2011 8:17 AM
7 Comments
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Actor Also Took 'Stuck On You' Instead Of Werner Herzog's 'Rescue Dawn'



While discussing "The Adjustment Bureau" during press rounds this past week, Matt Damon admitted to what we already know is one of cinema's greatest what-ifs: that instead of Sam Worthington as Jake Sully in "Avatar" it could have been the Oscar-winning actor instead. Damon took the opportunity to clarify that he had not made a giant career blunder in not taking on "Avatar," but that something as simple as scheduling had killed the chance for the most successful movie of all-time to have an actually interesting leading man as its protagonist.

"I talked to Cameron, I read the script, and I knew it was going to be a big hit," says Damon. "And I really wanted to do 'Avatar' and watch Jim Cameron direct. I felt like I really was gonna learn a lot. It’s just that we were finishing 'The Bourne Ultimatum' and I couldn’t leave. It was a scheduling issue. I joke that I bailed on 'Avatar,' but in truth it was a scheduling issue." While it would make sense for any actor to avoid saying they "turned down" the most successful movie of all time, it's pretty well-known at this point that "The Bourne Ultimatum" shoot was overlong as the movie was rewritten on the fly.

Damon also discussed turning down a certain Werner Herzog joint, but it was all in the name of romance. "There was a Werner Herzog movie that Christian Bale did called 'Rescue Dawn,'" Damon said. "Werner and I were talking about that a few years ago about possibly playing that role. I was really strongly considering it, and instead, I met with the Farrelly Brothers. And I was speaking to my mom, and she said, you know, you don’t always have to go into a jungle and lose all that weight. You’re allowed to have a little fun. And I did ['Stuck On You'], and that’s where I met my wife." Aww.

While missing out on the game-changing 3D film of our time and working with one of cinema's most unique, eccentric talents, Damon is doing pretty fine as it is. More to come this week from the press rounds of "The Adjustment Bureau" including more from our interview with director George Nolfi (in case you missed it, here are his thoughts on the abandoned fourth 'Bourne' that we wrote). The film opens this Friday, March 5th.

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7 Comments

  • heh | March 2, 2011 6:05 AMReply

    Damn, maybe Cameron will recast him for the sequel.

    Worthington has the charisma of a cardboard box.

  • Wey | March 2, 2011 4:38 AMReply

    piece of shit?

    lol, internet hyperbole at its finest

  • Paul | March 1, 2011 4:40 AMReply

    Well, perhaps he can find himself in one of the sequels. Damon is doing fine regardless.

  • Kevin Klawitter | February 28, 2011 9:52 AMReply

    I thought Sam Worthington was excellent in "Avatar". He did exacttly what the movie required. The lead in an epic like "Avatar" doesn't need to be extremely nuanced, intense, or even that complex. He just needs to stand as a moral center and develop as the audience's surrogate.

    Having a little-known actor like Worthington was a necessity, as it was easy to look at him and see "Jake Sully". With all due respect to Matt Damon, who's a terrific actor, I wouldn't have been able to buy him as easily in "Avatar". I would have seen the star, not the character.

  • thomthom | February 28, 2011 9:31 AMReply

    Bit harsh on Worthington, no?

    Check out Somersault - great Aussie indie flick with Abbie Cornish if you want to see Worthington work with a decent script

  • KT | February 28, 2011 8:49 AMReply

    Yeah, sure, Avatar was forgettable but Damon wouldn't made BANK off his star power.

    They paid Worthington pennies in comparison.

  • Abner | February 28, 2011 8:26 AMReply

    Missing out? Avatar was a piece of shit. BU was at least half-decent.

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