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Heard of Sam Worthington? Well, you certainly will after Terminator Salvation. The Australian actor portrays Marcus Wright, a stranger from the Past whose last memory is of being on death row before awakening in the strange new world of 2018, where Terminators roam the post-apocalyptic landscape. Now John Connor (Christian Bale), working for the Resistance, must decide whose side Marcus is on…

Sam Worthington © Warner Brothers
Sam Worthington © Warner Brothers

Were you a fan of this franchise?

Sam Worthungton: I reacquainted myself with it before we shot. I was maybe 14 or 15 when the second one came out, so I remember the liquid man because it was pretty revolutionary.

Seeing them again, you realize just how talented Jim Cameron is as a storyteller.

Can you talk about doing the stunts in this film, and the injuries during them?

It’s Terminator, it’s not Pride and Prejudice, is it? You know what you’re stepping into, so you take a few hits and you take a few knocks.

Just putting an actor in those situations, the audience is seeing the character getting blown up, running through minefields getting shot at, and it draws them in a bit more.

It keeps them involved in the story. I think all of us tried to do as much as we could before the insurance got involved.

You just did Avatar with James Cameron. Did he say anything to you about being in Terminator?

I told him that they wanted me to do it, and I said, “Here’s my take on the character and here’s what I want to do with it,” and he told me, “Just don’t [mess] it up!” That was about it. And then, he went back to filming Avatar. As Jim said, he wants to look at it as a fan.

Terminator Salvation
Christian Bale and Sam Worthington © Warner Brothers

How was it to work with Christian Bale?

I find Christian extremely passionate and dedicated. People call him intense. I hate that word. I hate it!

He turns up, does his job, and it’s all about the story and the character. To work with a guy like that is actually a privilege.

What was your take on your character?

Terminator Salvation - Sam Worthington
Sam Worthington © Warner Brothers

To be honest, I looked at him as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. That was always stuck in my head, about this person waking up in another world and finds himself as they go on this yellow brick road and find the heart, the brain, the sensitivity.

That’s why I’m wearing a blue coat. Dorothy wears a blue dress. Things like that were stuck into it. That’s how I approached the character.

What was McG’s reaction to your Dorothy analogy?

He thinks I’m mad as hell. He’s a good director. He lets you come in and do your job, and gives you little, subtle hints along the way, until you’re on the right path.

That’s what any good director does. They don’t treat you like a monkey or a puppet.

They implore you to bring in whatever you can bring in. My job is to bring in as much as I can, and then he goes and puts it together.