Matt Damon has his audience in stitches during his masterclass at the Cannes Film Festival today.

The actor, here in preview Still water, explained how he turned down the lead role in the mega-blockbuster Avatar, despite the fact that James Cameron offered him a portion of the film’s profits (it would reach $ 2.8 billion gross worldwide).

“I was offered a little film called Avatar, James Cameron offered me 10%, “he recalls.” I’m going to make history … you’ll never meet an actor who turned down more money. “

Damon said he couldn’t make the movie because he was shooting the Jason Bourne movies and made the “moral” decision not to let this franchise stand still. Cameron instead picked Sam Worthington, who was then relatively under the radar, who is on board for the sequels but likely didn’t get 10% of the profits from the original.

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He also recounted the first time he shared this story with his regular collaborator John Krasinski. He remembered Krasinski getting up from the table in total shock before saying, “Nothing would be different in your life if you had done Avatarexcept you and I would be having this conversation in space.

When someone in the audience pointed out that Cameron was well advanced on his sequels to the film, Damon joked, “Are there sequels? Oh my God.”

The actor also explained that he had never directed a directing, although he did get closer on several occasions. He said he was supposed to leadPromised land, which Gus Van Sant ultimately directed, and who was at one point to direct the eventual Oscar winner Manchester by the sea. After reading Kenneth Lonergan’s script, however, he said, “Kenny, you have to direct this, it’s you.”

Damon was also set to star in the movie, but he ended up bumping into The Martian. “The only person I would give the part to was Casey [Affleck]He said upon finding his replacement, adding that they were told they would never get funding with Affleck in the lead role, but eventually producer Kimberly Steward gave them the funding. risked his brand new business on it, ”he added.

The actor also answered a question about how he handles fame. “The media abandoned me because I was so boring. What sells magazines is sex and scandal. Everyone knows I’m married and a dad, and relatively safe from scandals, it’s not worth their money to sit outside my house. They also know that I will be waiting for them, ”he said.

He compared his profile to ocean 11 co-star Brad Pitt, recalling once the couple traveled to the Monaco Grand Prix to promote the film starring George Clooney. “It was absolute madness. I was blocked by security and had to say, “I’m with Brad! It was one of the most fucked up things I’ve ever seen… but Brad’s pulse didn’t go over 50. It was like he was going shopping. I clung to my wife.

He also discussed trying to inject diversity into the projects he produces, recalling how he was “shocked” by an Annenberg study that highlighted the lack of representation in the film industry, said therefore added an amendment to its projects. “We want our business to reflect the country we live in. The biker is enough for people to stop and think.”

Damon took the time to express his joy at being back in Cannes, who saw him visibly well recovered during the standing ovation which followed the Still water first, “It was such a relief to be in a room with a thousand strangers who are part of a community because we love the same thing. I have never felt this so strongly, having been deprived of it. of that for 18 months, I was really overwhelmed that we could all come together here again.





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