With Avatar: The Way of Water becoming one of the top-grossing movies of all time, some actors would have given anything to be in it, but for Marc Maron, he had a hard time finding a reason to commit to the project, recently reflecting on the absurdity of the audition process. The comedian-turned-podcaster-turned-actor seemingly wasn’t impressed by the scope of the project, dismissing the fact that he would have to uproot his entire life to go to New Zealand for an extended period of time not only to appear in The Way of Water, but also sequels. Jemaine Clement would go on to score the role of Dr. Ian Garvin.
“That was ridiculous. Why the f-ck would I want that job?” Maron joked while appearing on the Happy Sad Confused podcast. “There’s this assumption that we’re going to do four Avatar movies. Dude, I don’t even remember the first one! I don’t know what this all means to the world. [James Cameron] built this city down there [at his Long Beach studio]. There’s people doing acrobatics down there, tightropes and cameras, people flying, it’s like Cirque du Soleil down there.”
He continued, “So you go in and he gives you the script, he’s like, ‘You can’t take a picture of this, this doesn’t leave the building, this script.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, man.’ He’s like, ‘Go take a look, look it over. You’re here, you might as well just read for this today.’ I’m like, ‘…okay.’ So I go in the other room and he’s got — the only cool thing about auditioning for James Cameron is he’s got a museum of James Cameron. There’s a room there where you can see the Titanic model and some other stuff from the other movies. You’re like, ‘This is kind of cool. So this is how you did the thing?'”
The audition process itself was both more complex yet more sparse than other auditions, creating an overall disorientating experience for the actor.
“I go read the script and then, all of a sudden, you’re in this free zone with people he just has around down there to read parts and fly and be on dollies or whatever,” Maron recalled. “I’m on camera, I think, and I gotta picture whatever the f-ck it is, a boat or whatever, and there’s other people around. I’m just in the middle of this thing, totally untethered, I have no sense of character, I don’t know really what’s happening around me, other than there are several unidentified actor people and acrobats around me.”
Despite the excitement over the opportunity to work with Cameron, the requirement of relocating to the other side of the globe was almost a non-starter for the role.
“[My agent said,] ‘You’re probably going to go to New Zealand for four years,’ or whatever the f-ck it was, a ridiculous about of time, ‘You’re going to have to go to New Zealand for a while.’ And I’m like, ‘It’s not happening,'” Maron joked. “I have no problem with it, I have nothing invested in it, other than the experience of, ‘All right, I’ll go take the meeting,’ and he sent me a box of cigars because he didn’t cast me. I’m like, it’s okay, that’s nice, it’s all right. I don’t know, man. At this age, I have no problem saying no. Seriously.”
Even after all of the film’s success, he still knows he made the right decision, especially given that Clement would take the role instead.
“How much is Jemaine even in it? I would have had to go to New Zealand for a year and people would be like, ‘Were you in it?'” Maron teased. “He lives in New Zealand, it was good. He had family there, it was a no-brainer.”
Avatar: The Way of Water is in theaters now.
Would you have liked to have seen Maron in the film? Let us know in the comments!