Matt Damon Tells Playboy About ‘Elysium’ and the Roles He Missed Out On

Matt Damon in Elysium

While discussing his new film Promised Land and how boring he is, Matt Damon told Playboy (don’t click if you dislike looking at a lot of butts) about the experience of filming in a massive trash dump for Elysium and got humble about the roles he missed out on.

“Having to say no to Avatar was tough because I particularly wanted to work with James Cameron, and still do, because he’s fantastic,” Damon said. “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.”

Damon also talked about missing out on Milk and Brokeback Mountain, but ultimately concluding that Josh Brolin and Heath Ledger were the right actors for the parts because of how stellar they portrayed their respective characters.

The conversation is excellent — no surprise since it comes from Stephen Rebello (who wrote the book that just became Hitchcock, for what that’s worth).

In Neill Blomkamp‘s Elysium, Damon plays a man embarking on a mission to try to bring equality to a future version of earth where the elites live in a floating space station while the rest of us schlubs scrounge in the trash heap that is our ruined planet. It’s a highly anticipated follow-up to District 9 that sees theaters in August of next year.

Beyond describing what it’s like to film in a dump (and to meet people who live there…), Damon talks about his fears, how they limit him in his career, his dull family life, how much he enjoys signing Team America: World Police dolls of himself, and wanting to look like Tommy Lee Jones. Like I said, it’s a fantastic conversation that offers just a few hints at a very cool forthcoming sci-fi film and a view into an alternate universe where Damon made out with Jake Gyllenhaal for Ang Lee.

Of course, we’ll get to see a version of that when straddles Michael Douglas as Liberace’s lover in an upcoming production on HBO. If you had trouble telling, the dude is busy.


A veteran of writing about movies for nearly a decade, Scott Beggs has been the Managing Editor of Film School Rejects since 2009. Despite speculation, he is not actually Walter Mathau's grandson. See? He can't even spell his name right.

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