Sam Worthington: interview

0

Comments

Add +

Sam Worthington talks of his experiences making the year's most anticipated movie, James Cameron's 'Avatar'

Being cast as marine Jake Sully in James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ changed one-time bricklayer Sam Worthington’s life: before a frame of the film had even screened, the 33-year-old Australian was offered lead roles in ‘Terminator: Salvation’ and ‘Clash of the Titans’. Now the breakthrough film is finally reaching our screens.

How did you come to be cast in ‘Avatar’?
‘I did an audition in Australia but I knew nothing about the project. I wasn’t told who the director was and I couldn’t read the script, which peed me off a bit. But obviously Jim saw something in that rebellious attitude. A week later I got a call to fly to LA. And we kept auditioning for six months, on and off, back and forth, to convince the studio to take a punt on an unknown Aussie.’

So Cameron was behind you but the studio wasn’t?
‘It’s a lot of money to rest on the shoulders of a guy who’s not tested. But Jim always said, “If the project’s good, my name’s big enough.” He backed me from the very beginning.’

What do you think he saw in you?
‘It’d be arrogant to assume anything; you’d have to ask him. I do know he’s a truck driver from Canada, I’m a bricklayer from Australia, we share a work ethic. We look at making movies not as a God-given right, but as a job. You have to drag us off set.’

When you first read the script, could you visualise it?
‘Jim is a stickler for detail, that’s what makes him unique. His scripts are four times the size of normal scripts because of the amount of detail. I said to him, “How the hell are you going to make this?” He took me to the motion capture set. There was a guy running around, pretending to be a banshee, squawking and flapping his arms. I looked at the monitor and saw a banshee, and I thought: I get it! I’m mad enough to do this, let’s go!’

James Cameron has a tough reputation. Did the two of you get on?
‘He’s changed my life, I owe him everything. He demands excellence, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. We connect because we’re tough, opinionated, passionate and love working. He protects you. You don’t feel any outside influence, media exposure, studio involvement; you’re in the eye of the hurricane – it’s very calm and you’re there to create.’

What kind of preparation did you do for the role of Jake Sully?
‘At the start you don’t know who he is, we’re not revealing too much. Then as the movie blossoms, he blossoms. I looked at my nephew, a seven-year-old kid opening his eyes to the world, and I played him like that. Not as a hard-ass marine who’s despondent and surly.’

Did you enjoy the process of motion capture?
‘If you leave your vanity and self-consciousness at home, you’ll have a good day at work. We used a studio called the Volume, about the size of a netball court. It’s Jim Cameron’s play pit. It’s filled with fibreglass; you run and climb. There was a fibreglass bird to ride, with six guys swinging it side to side and a wind machine blasting at you. They had actual horses brought in. They shaved them and marked them and we rode them through the Volume.’

Your next two roles are both more dramatic. Do you feel a need to prove your versatility?
‘Yeah, but I’m trying to bring that versatility into all my roles. Jake isn’t a one-dimensional action hero, he’s funny, engaging, emotive, romantic. I do movies I would go to see.'

Read our review of ‘Avatar’.

Author: Interview: Tom Huddleston



Users say

0 comments


Top Stories

Meet the dream team: a preview of ‘Les Misérables’

Meet the dream team: a preview of ‘Les Misérables’

Director Tom Hooper and his cast tell us how they turned the super-musical into movie blockbuster.

Oscar predictions

Oscar predictions

The Time Out film team weighs in on the nominees for the 2013 Academy Awards

January film highlights 2013

January film highlights 2013

Get ready for the big guns… Spielberg, Tarantino and Bigelow

October film highlights

October film highlights

Daniel Craig’s 007 comeback, a genius indie romcom and all the mysteries behind ‘The Shining’ unravelled.

The Time Out film debate 2012 highlights

The Time Out film debate 2012 highlights

The results of our study on the state of films and filmgoing in 2012.

Read 'Time Out film debate 2012 highlights'

Martin Freeman interview

Martin Freeman interview

'The Hobbit' actor tells us why he wouldn't have a pint with Bilbo Baggins.

Sam Mendes interview

Sam Mendes interview

Dave Calhoun speaks to the director of 'Skyfall' about the latest film in the Bond franchise.

Ang Lee interview

Ang Lee interview

The genre-hopping director tells us how he invented a new genre with 'Life of Pi'

Michael Haneke interview

Michael Haneke interview

The twice Palme d'Or-winning director discusses 'Amour'.

Read our interview with Michael Haneke

Thomas Vinterberg interview

Thomas Vinterberg interview

The Danish director talks about his powerful new drama 'The Hunt'.

Read our interview with Thomas Vinterberg'

Ten things the 'Twilight' movies did for us

Ten things the 'Twilight' movies did for us

Time Out looks back at the impact of the 'Twilight' saga.

Discover what 'Twilight' has done for us

On the set of 'Sightseers'

On the set of 'Sightseers'

Time Out heads to the Lake District to visit director Ben Wheatley on set.

Read about our visit to the 'Sightseers' set

Tim Burton interview

Tim Burton interview

The director talks about 'Frankenweenie', which he describes as 'the ultimate memory piece'.

Read our interview with Tim burton

The top ten Christmas films of 2012

The top ten Christmas films of 2012

Our pick of the best films showing over the festive period.

Read 'The top ten Christmas films of 2012'

What's your film guilty pleasure?

What's your film guilty pleasure?

Mean Girls? Dirty Dancing? Tell us your favourite film guilty pleasure.

Read 'Film guilty pleasures'

When teen stars turn serious

When teen stars turn serious

Ten young actors come of age on the silver screen.

Read 'When teen stars turn serious'

50 years of James Bond

50 years of James Bond

From Connery to Craig, we revisit all 22 Bond films.

Read '50 years of James Bond'

Paul Thomas Anderson interview

Paul Thomas Anderson interview

The director talks Scientology and working with Joaquin Phoenix.

Read the interview

Hilarious horror films

Hilarious horror films


Ten funny horror movies which went spectacularly off the rails.

Read 'Hilarious horror films'

Martin McDonagh interview

Martin McDonagh interview

The director talks psychopaths and theatre – 'my least favourite artform'.

Read the interview

Autumn horror films

Autumn horror films

We round-up the five best horror movies of Autumn 2012.

Read about this Autumn's best horror movies

On the set of Skyfall

On the set of Skyfall

Time Out visits Istanbul to see the latest Bond movie being made.

Read 'On the set of Skyfall'

Bond: then and now

Bond: then and now

Does Skyfall refresh or rehash the James Bond franchise?

Sally Potter interview

Sally Potter interview

The British director explains why 'Ginger and Rosa' is her most mainstream film yet.

Daniel Craig interview

Daniel Craig interview

'I’m almost as in demand as Brad Pitt’