Matt Damon On Passing On ‘Avatar’: ‘[That] Cost The Film A Lot!’

Matt Damon says “Avatar” – now the top-grossing movie ever — could’ve done even better with himself as the star.

“Clearly my not participating cost the film a lot,” he joked to Access Hollywood at a screening of his latest film, “Green Zone.”

“Avatar” director James Cameron revealed recently that Matt and Jake Gyllenhaal were among the stars considered for the role of Jake Sully that ultimately went to Aussie unknown Sam Worthington, and Matt confirmed the news to Access.

“It’s true, and I read the script and I thought it was great,” Matt said. “I talked to [James] a couple times about it. It was when we were making ‘The Bourne Ultimatum.’”

But production on the “Bourne” film would’ve conflicted with preparation for “Avatar,” and Matt chose to pass.

“The timing was just off,” he said. “[James] was great, he said, ‘No, you should absolutely stay and finish the job.’ He was a gentleman about it.”

And while Matt wasn’t regretful about missing the role, he said he hoped to have another chance to work with the blockbuster director.

“It was harder to let go of because I really wanted to watch Jim Cameron work,” he said. “I always take jobs because of the director… I think everybody would like the chance to sit next to Cameron.”

Still, he was happy to reunite with “Bourne Ultimatum” director Paul Greengrass on Iraq War drama “Green Zone,” an action-packed movie that often finds the actor off and running.

“Paul always makes me work a little bit for my check,” he joked. “Working with Paul again, making a big action movie, that’s fun.”

And he’s making moves to pair with another of his favorite collaborators – friend Ben Affleck. The two haven’t worked together much since their Oscar-winning breakthrough, “Good Will Hunting” (both starred in Kevin Smith’s 1999 film “Dogma,” as well), but Matt explained that their new joint production company should change that.

“We’re always looking for stuff to do together. Hopefully this’ll make it easier to do that,” he said. “If you told me 12 years ago we wouldn’t have worked together, really, I would have called you a liar. It’s just the way it worked out.”

“Green Zone” opens on March 12.

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