Avatar director James Cameron has revealed that he spoke with both Matt Damon and Jake Gyllenhaal about taking the starring role in the sci-fi blockbuster, but that the two stars ultimately declined.
"I don’t think they ever had a problem with the CG," Cameron told the Los Angeles Times. "Honestly, did I go out and try to woo them? No. I had my heart set on Sam [Worthington, who ultimately got the role of Jake Sully]. Maybe they sensed my lack of 100% commitment from me. Maybe it was the subject matter. This was a big Star Wars-type movie. They’re both serious actors."
Apparently Cameron hasn't seen the goofy trailer for Gyllenhaal's Prince of Persia, but Damon does seem intent on expanding his range. Word is out that he's in talks to play Robert F. Kennedy in a film based on the Evan Thomas biography His Life, which will follow RFK's career from his time in brother JFK's White House to his own 1968 assassination. The film will be directed by Gary Ross of Seabiscuit fame.
As for Cameron, he says he only approached Damon and Gyllenhaal when he feared that he'd need a name actor to help get Avatar financed. With some $2.5 billion in global box office already, the lack of a star has obviously crippled Avatar from reaching its full potential.