Matt Damon and Jake Gyllenhaal Almost Starred in 'Avatar'

One of the biggest criticisms hurled at James Cameron's Avatar was that the story wasn't very strong and Sam Worthington wasn't a very good actor. Personally, I'm not a big fan of Sam Worthington; I don't think he gives us enough as an actor, and he was very stale in Avatar. Interestingly enough, though, Worthington almost didn't get the job for Avatar – two other (more prominent) actors were offered the role first.

Matt Damon and Jake Gyllenhaal

Speaking to the LA Times, James Cameron admits that they offered both Matt Damon and Jake Gyllenhaal the role of Jake Sully, but each turned it down for various unknown reasons. Cameron's first choice all along, however, was to go with an unknown named Sam Worthington (who was living in his car right before he landed the role), but the studio didn't want to take that risk right off the bat; they wanted a "name."
Cameron convinced them that it'd work, and I guess you can say it did – what with Avatar now being the highest grossing film of all time. But would it have been better if Matt Damon or Jake Gyllenhaal were in that lead role? Would we have connected to it more, or, alternatively, would we have felt disconnected because those two guys are almost too well-known to carry a unique film such as this?
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