Sam Worthington in Terminator: Salvation © Warner Bros
Sam Worthington in Terminator: Salvation © Warner Bros
Sam Worthington in Terminator: Salvation © Warner Bros

With the success of Terminator: Salvation, actor Sam Worthington, who portrayed Marcus Wright, was thrust into the public psyche. And fans of the Sci-Fi genre are going to be seeing a lot of him in the future as he stars in James Cameron’s mega-hyped Avatar, which opens later this year, and he’s currently shooting another special effects spectacular, Clash of the Titans.

I spoke with Worthington about his upcoming movies at the Terminator press conference.

How long have you been shooting Avatar?

I started Avatar in 2006, and I’ve been working non-stop.

Wasn’t the acting in Avatar almost all green screen?

Yeah, but Jim Cameron is very clever, in the sense that he tries to make it as real as possible. Even though you’re in a big grey soundstage with nothing there, he will try to give you as much as possible to make the terrain and the place real. There would be plants to walk through and, if there was an explosion, they’d throw something at you, and things like that. Acting is reacting. You can’t just react to nothing. That’s too hard a task to ask any actor. You always need something tangible.

When you’re working on something like Avatar, is there a lot of physical precision involved?

Sam Worthington
Sam Worthington in Terminator: Salvation © Warner Bros

Kind of. You’re never dictated by the technology with Jim. Jim is paramount to the actors. Everyone thinks that he’s technology driven, but he’s the best f-kin’ acting director I’ve ever worked with. He picks up on subtleties and details that you wouldn’t believe. So, he’s employed me to come in and do my job, and then we use the technology. It’s give and take. Jim isn’t a dictator. I’m not there to get pushed around. I’m there to work with the man. And, that’s why I got the job. I’ve done 10 years [of acting] in Australia. I didn’t do that for nothin’. We worked together. It’s a privilege to work with directors who like pushing the boundaries and taking risks. He’s taken a hell of a risk on this movie, with his career. That’s what I like to be a part of.

Does it live up to the hype?

It’s amazing! Jim said, “The hype is gonna kill it.” Jim is not nervous. He doesn’t get nervous. It’s not the be all and end all. Hopefully, what this does is open up a world of the possibilities of what motion capture can do and the possibilities of what this 3-D technology can achieve. Hopefully, it starts that kind of revolution, and I think it will.

You’re doing another big Fantasy project right now with Clash of the Titans.

We’re filming it at the moment.

What attracted you to that?

Who wouldn’t want to run around in a dress and kill the Kraken? That’s the appeal. I read the script and was jumping around the bed with a ruler, and my girlfriend was looking at me like I’m nuts. She said, “This is the one you’re going to do, isn’t it?,” and I said, “It’s deep, trust me.” But, I had a take on it that I gave (director) Louis Leterrier and the studio, and they were mad enough to let me loose and see if it can work.

How will it differ from the original?

We’ve been filming it for two weeks now and I’m more bruised and battered than I was on Terminator. We’ve taken on Medusa, we’ve taken on the witches, and then we just kill everything else. It’s a bit more brutal. There’s no togas, or there’s very little togas. I said, “I’m not wearing a toga.” You can’t look manly in a toga, I’m sorry. I couldn’t do it. Louis is a very good action director, so it’s going to be exciting and big, and my job is to bring the heart.

How different is your character, compared with Harry Hamlin’s performance?

I’m going to play it exactly the same. [he laughs]

What’s your take on Perseus?

It’s hard for me to discuss that because I’m in the middle of it. It’s something that, when we go and promote that movie, I can tell you whether it worked or not. I’m in the middle of discovering whether the take is gonna work.

When you choose the projects that you’re going to do, are the expectations in your thought process at all?

No. I pick because of the director. You’re working with them, and my job is to facilitate their vision. The second thing is, would I go see the movie? There’s no point in doing something for four months, or 13 months, that you wouldn’t go and see. That seems ridiculous.

Have you been approached for The Green Lantern?

I think they’ve been talking to people. I’ve been talking to [director] Martin Campbell about it. It’s one of those things where they’re still doing the script. I said, “Give me a script. Let me have a look at it.” I like Martin a lot, and I like his work, but the second step is, is it a movie that I’d go and see?

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.