Over the years Marc Maron has proven himself a decent actor. He can even do serious stuff, like To Leslie, the indie drama that scored a surprise Oscar nomination for Andrea Riseborough. Still, it is a bit surprising to learn that the comic and podcaster found himself auditioning for, of all movies, Avatar: The Way of Water — a gig he’s glad he luckily (by his own admission) didn’t actually get.
On a recent episode of the podcast Happy Sad Confused, Maron revealed that a few years ago James Cameron had him try out for the role of Dr. Ian Garvin, the marine biologist baddie. The part ultimately went to another funny guy who also does serious acting, Jemaine Clement. Maron was glad.
Marc Maron’s 5 minute AVATAR audition story is art.
Watch my full hour long HAPPY SAD CONFUSED chat with @marcmaron here: https://t.co/z5TuK3JHru pic.twitter.com/WgaqFoBkwd
— Josh Horowitz (@joshuahorowitz) February 15, 2023
“That was ridiculous. Why the fuck would I want that job?” Maron said. “There’s this assumption that we’re going to do four Avatar movies. Dude, I don’t even remember the first one!”
Maron described going down to New Zealand to visit the set, where he was prohibited from taking pictures. He saw some stuff. “There’s people doing acrobatics down there, people flying,” he recalled. “It’s like Cirque du Soleil down there.”
It sounds like auditioning for an Avatar movie is pretty disorienting. “All of a sudden you’re in this zone with people [James] just has there to read parts and fly and be on dollies,” Maron remembered. “I’m on camera I think. I gotta picture a boat or whatever the f*ck it is…I’m in the middle of this thing and I’m totally untethered and I have no sense of character. I have no idea what’s happening other than there are several unidentified actors and acrobats all around me.”
Alas, it was not to be. “Thank god [I didn’t get the part],” Maron explained. “I don’t like being away from home. My agent was like, ‘You’re probably going to go to New Zealand for four years,’ or whatever the f*ck it was. Some ridiculous amount of time. I was like, it’s not happening. Then [James] sent me a box of cigars because he didn’t cast me. Ok, that’s nice. At this age, I have no problem saying no.”
Perhaps you forget that one of the Flight of the Conchords guys was in Avatar 2. “Like I would’ve had to go to New Zealand for a year and people would’ve been like, ‘Were you even in it?’” Maron explained. “But Jemaine lives in New Zealand! He has family there. It was a no brainer.”
Had Maron gotten the job, it would have been his biggest movie ever, and he was in Joker. Then again, think about how many episodes of WTF he’d have to miss out on while trying to act opposite tennis balls and acrobats and what have you.