Matt Damon has a new interview with Playboy in which he talks about not being able to do the lead roles in ‘Avatar’ and ‘Brokeback Mountain’.
Talking about it, he says he doesn’t regret it anymore, saying, “Having to say no to Avatar was tough because I particularly wanted to work with James Cameron, and still do, because he’s fantastic. He knew he was the star of that movie and that everyone was going to go see it anyway. When he said, “Look, I’m offering it to you, but if you say no, the movie doesn’t need you,” I remember thinking, Oh God, not only do I have to say no because of scheduling, but he’s going to make a star out of some guy who’s going to start taking jobs from me later. Milk was another hard one because I was excited it would have been for Gus Van Sant, and I would have had the chance to do scenes with Sean Penn. They pushed the schedule and it ran into the slot for Green Zone.”
He adds, “Steven Soderbergh’s mantra is “The movie gets the right person; the right actor gets the part,” but I was like, “Sh-t, no. That was my part.” But when I saw Milk, Josh Brolin was so f–king good that I knew Soderbergh was right. Way back, Gus and I talked about my doing Brokeback Mountain with Joaquin Phoenix, but I had just done The Talented Mr. Ripley and All the Pretty Horses, so I said, “Gus, let’s do it in a couple of years. I just did a gay movie and a cowboy movie. I can’t do a gay cowboy movie now.” The right actor got the part. Heath Ledger was magnificent.”
He also talks about living in the same neighborhood as his best friend, Ben Affleck, and his wife, Jennifer Garner - “We lived in the same neighborhood this summer and had no problems at all. Granted, we didn’t look for attention by parading our kids down the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, but scandal and sex are what move most of those publications anyway. That’s not us. Ben and Jen are both famous, and people are interested in her and how she parents, which makes them a target. If we had gotten it like that, I wouldn’t have gone to Los Angeles. It’s just not worth it.”