‘He’s beating himself up’: James Cameron responds to Matt Damon revealing he lost out on $250m after turning down Avatar

Avatar director James Cameron has responded to Matt Damon’s revelation that he lost out on $250m (£205m) worth of profits when he turned down the lead role in the movie.

In 2019, the actor had revealed that when Cameron approached him for the role of Jake Sully – which was eventually taken by Sam Worthington – he also offered him 10 per cent of the film’s profits.

Avatar made $2.79bn (£2.2bn) at the worldwide box office in 2009, meaning Damon could have earned upwards of a quarter of a billion dollars. “I’ve left more money on the table than any actor,” Damon has said of the move.

In a new BBC Radio 1 interview to promote the new sequel The Way of Water, when Cameron was asked if he’s talked to Damon lately, he burst into laughter and said: “He’s beating himself up over this. And I really think you know, ‘Matt, you’re kind of like one of the biggest movie stars in the world, get over it.’

“But he had to do another Bourne film which was on his runway and there was nothing we could do about that. So he had to regretfully decline.”

Cameron was then asked whether he would consider Damon for a role in a future Avatar sequel, to which he replied: “Must do it. We have to do it so the world is in equilibrium again. But he doesn’t get 10 per cent, f*** that.”

Avatar: The Way of Water is out in cinemas now – find The Independent’s review of the film here.