Josh Brolin Turned Down Avatar

Not only is director James Cameron being quite ambitious by planning four Avatar sequels that are being shot back-to-back, but he’s making some surprising choices for his cast.

While it was expected that Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana would reprise their roles as Jake Sully, in his Na-vi avatar body, and the Pandora native Neytiri, we’ve since learned that in addition to Sigourney Weaver returning as a new character, the deceased villains played by Stephen Lang and Matt Gerald will somehow be coming back as the same characters. But that doesn’t mean James Cameron didn’t try to bring some new blood in for these movies.

No Country for Old Men and Avengers: Infinity War star Josh Brolin was offered a role in the Avatar sequels, but the actor wasn’t interested, so he turned down the part. That apparently did not sit well with James Cameron. Welcome to your new favorite celebrity feud.

In an interview with Esquire, the interviewer provides us with the revelation made by the actor that he turned down a role in Avatar. Furthermore, he appears to have pissed off James Cameron in the process. Here’s Brolin’s quick and brutally honest mention of the situation from the interview:

“If I don’t want to do ‘Avatar,’ I’m not going to do ‘Avatar.’ James Cameron’s f—ing calling me this name and that name. Whatever. If James Cameron came to me and said, ‘Hey, man, why’d you say that?’ I’d go, ‘Because it happened.'”

Kudos to Josh Brolin for not beating around the bush when it comes to Hollywood beef like this. Perhaps James Cameron couldn’t believe that someone would turn him down for what was presumably a multi-million dollar franchise deal, but is it really worth slinging insults back at the actor?

Cameron has been known to get worked up behind the scenes of his movies, not unlike Michael Bay does on his sets. In fact, on the fantastic podcast I Was There Too (which interviews extras and supporting stars from blockbuster movies), there’s a great story Tom Arnold has from the set of True Lies about James Cameron getting pissed off at Arnold Schwarzenegger and yelling in his face. It should be noted that many actors and crew have also praised Cameron’s worth ethic, noting that he may be demanding, but he works harder than anyone else on the set.

At the end of the day, can you really blame Josh Brolin for not wanting to star in the Avatar sequels? If it’s like the rest of the roles cast so far, it was going to be a character that spanned multiple movies. But Brolin is already deep in the world of blockbuster franchises with a role as the Marvel Cinematic Universe villain Thanos, appearing in both Avengers: Infinity War in 2018 and The Avengers 4 in 2019. Plus, we just got a look at his second franchise role in Deadpool 2, one that will likely have more movies for him as the time traveling mutant Cable down the road.

While Brolin probably would have gotten a hell of a pay day out of starring in the Avatar sequels, any time he’s not shooting Marvel movies can be spent on other roles that interest him. If he was shooting Avatar movies, he’d have to spend a lot of time down in New Zealand and Australia over the next couple years, keeping him away from the exciting roles he tends to take between superhero gigs.

The question is, now that Josh Brolin turned down Avatar, who will that part end up going to now? Could the return of Stephen Lang be a substitute for Josh Brolin’s absence? Or is there another actor yet to be cast in the role? With production on the Avatar sequels slated to begin in September, hopefully we’ll find out soon.

Avatar 2 hits theaters on December 18, 2020 and three more sequels will follow through 2025.

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