CNN’s Chris Wallace Busts on Matt Damon For Deciding To Turn Down ‘The Most Money An Actor Ever Turned Down’


CNN anchor Chris Wallace twisted the knife when he asked actor/producer Matt Damon about a decision Damon acknowledges cost him “the most money an actor ever turned down” — something like $250 million.

On this week’s episodes of Wallace’s Max/CNN series Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace, Wallace interviewed Damon and film star Laura Linney. The Damon interview was conducted prior to the SAG/AFTRA strike, which prompted Damon and his castmates to walk out of the Oppenheimer premier.

In his interview with Damon, Wallace good-naturedly picked at a multi-hundred-million-dollar scab when he asked the actor to explain how he turned down a role in 2009’s Avatar that would have paid off the national debts of several small nations:

WALLACE: For all the talk about brains and strategy. In 2009 you turn down the lead in the movie Avatar, in which the director, not a bad director named James Cameron offered you a percentage of the movie, which you apparently had figured out was going to be 250…would have been…

DAMON: It’s something awful like that. It’s something, it’s like, I’m sure it’s the most money an actor ever turned down, you know?

WALLACE: And supposedly this was because you had a commitment to the Bourne series.

DAMON: I did. I had, I had. I had a contract…I was in the middle of shooting the Bourne movie and I knew that we were going to need work at the end and I had to get it all the way to the finish line and I would have to leave the movie kind of early and leave them in the lurch a little bit and I didn’t want to do that. I desperately wanted to work with Cameron. I mean, because he worked so rarely.

WALLACE: Honestly, Matt, if you had known that Avatar was going to be the biggest grossing movie of all time and you were going to have 10% of the after. Could we have maybe put off the Bourne series.

DAMON: This is like…this is like that question. No it’s less much less consequential, that was just a joke. dumb just but but no, I mean, I don’t I don’t know how I could have left the all my friends in the lurch. You know what I mean? It would have… my favorite reaction to this was, I told John Krasinski, we were writing this little movie a long time ago called “Promised Land” and we were in my kitchen and it was a Saturday morning and we were on a break and I said, Yeah, I tell him about Avatar, and he launches himself out of the chair. He starts pacing the kitchen, he goes, okay, okay, okay. Okay, okay. Nothing in your life would be different today if you had done that movie, except you and I would be having this conversation in space. I would have been the same guy…

WALLACE: So he’s trying to make you feel better about something that you were…

DAMON: I would have been the same guy, I just would have had a space station.

Watch above via Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace.

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