Last August, before anyone had seen the kick-ass Clash of the Titans teaser trailer, before most people knew who Sam Worthington was, and when everyone online debated how much money Fox was going to lose on Avatar, I got to visit the London set of director Louis Leterrier’s Clash of the Titans while it was still filming. Going in, I thought the movie was going to be pretty big. But when I got to the set and saw the size and scope firsthand, I realized this was a movie I couldn’t wait to see put together, and I left London excited and impressed.
Anyway, while on the set visit, I was able to participate in a roundtable interview with Sam Worthington. What’s great about the interview is hearing Worthington talk about Avatar before it became a worldwide success, and also hearing him talk about Clash of the Titans while he’s in the middle of filming it. He tells some honest stories about the making the film and it’s a great interview. Hit the jump to read or listen to what he had to say:
As always, you can either read the transcript below or listen to the audio by clicking here.
If you haven’t seen the teaser trailer for Clash of the Titans, I suggest watching this before reading the interview. And here’s the synopsis:
In Clash of the Titans, the ultimate struggle for power pits men against kings and kings against gods. But the war between the gods themselves could destroy the world. Born of a god but raised as a man, Perseus (Sam Worthington) is helpless to save his family from Hades (Ralph Fiennes), vengeful god of the underworld. With nothing left to lose, Perseus volunteers to lead a dangerous mission to defeat Hades before he can seize power from Zeus (Liam Neeson) and unleash hell on earth. Leading a daring band of warriors, Perseus sets off on a perilous journey deep into forbidden worlds. Battling unholy demons and fearsome beasts, he will only survive if he can accept his power as a god, defy his fate and create his own destiny.
Question: I want to thank you for spending “Avatar Day” with us.
Worthington: My mates have all gone and seen it. It’s a lot better than it is on the teaser. You’re meant to see it on the IMAX. I haven’t seen it on IMAX but my mate went and saw it today and said it blew him away. He’s seen about as much footage as I have so I suggest seeing it in IMAX even than on a regular screen.
I couldn’t help but notice that your shoes have toes painted on them.
Worthington: Yeah… well, it was a great idea at the time. The problem is that Louis putting them together, they still look like Nikes, so the toes are pretty redundant to be honest. We’ve just said that he just starts out with normal sandals and then we invented a scene where he’s wrapping his boots up so it covers Louis’ and my ass in the movie.
When you look at your shoes with painted-on toes, how hard is it to keep yourself from feeling a little bit ridiculous?
Worthington: I think this whole movie is pretty ridiculous. It’s the fun of it. We’re running around with rubber swords and rubber shields with a guy made of wood, jumping out of scorpions covered in goo. I think the whole point of this movie is it’s meant to be fun and bombastic, and to take people… I call it a Saturday morning popcorn movie your Dad would have seen. That’s how I’ve been approaching it. That’s just another thing to keep you reminded about it.
We also hear you’re doing action scenes in a skirt.
Worthington: Which is a lot harder than what it sounds. Did Mads tell you? It flies up all the time so a lot of the shots get ruined cause they don’t want to allow your cheeks.
Can you talk about the differences between your Perseus and the one in the previous movie?
Worthington: Like what I wanted to do… in the original, Perseus is part-man, part-God, as you know, and he accepts the God side pretty easily in the first one, accepts all the gifts the Gods give him, and to me, that wasn’t a very good message to give to my 9-year-old nephew or any kid, I think, is that you have to be a God to achieve something. So one of these things I said to Louis and talked to Louis about was that he wants to be a man and do this as a man, and do it with other men. I think that’s a good message that anything is possible if you’re banded together as men, so that’s where it differs a lot. He’s rejecting the Gods a hell of a lot. And then the second thing is that Greek mythology, your destiny is set for you, and I thought that was another crap message to give to my nephew, because to say to him, “You’re already going to be destined to do this, this and this.” I believe you can make your own fate, so we played against that, so my Perseus is, to use that word again, a boisterous belligerent kind of teenager, is how I’ve been playing him, who you tell him you can’t do something and he’ll run headlong into doing him and that gets him into a lot of trouble. He’s not the Golden Boy, he’s the teenager who has to learn how to grow up. That’s what I consider the main difference from the first film.
Did you know the original movie or did you avoid it like Mads did?
Worthington: Mads hasn’t seen it. I don’t think he avoided it. I don’t think he knew that it existed.
But he could have seen it if he wanted to.
Worthington: Yeah, yeah, yeah, but he just didn’t… that’s just Mads. He only watches movies that he’s in. (laughter)
Were you familiar with it as a kid?
Worthington: No, I watched it before I started to familiarize myself. I got about halfway through it and nodded off a bit (laughter). I think it’s a bit corny. The messages aren’t kind of relative to now. I think the performances are a bit tame, and they’re stop-motion, which is good. Harryhausen, for what he did and how he did it-I read a book on him-it’s quite incredible, but the only reason… it’s not “Casablanca,” to be honest. It’s worthy of a remake, especially with the technology we have nowadays to rev it up a bit, to turn it up to 11.
You’re no stranger to action, but this is different for you or are you using some of the same skills you used for those other movies?
Worthington: Oh, running and yelling and falling over and getting bashed up? (laughs) They’re the same skills. To be honest with you, I thought this would be quite easy, but a.) learning how to hold a sword and shield is a whole new different skill set to learn and b.) it’s a lot harder than “Terminator.” Louis, you’ve seen his movies, he knows action. He’s got three or four cameras rolling all the time, continually moving so he’s covering it from every different angle, as much as he possibly can, because he’s a very visceral director that way. But he throws us in the deep end and I’m with the Journeymen, we’re a very competitive bunch of boys. It’s like the United Nations with us. You’ve got Mads from Denmark, Liam Cunningham from Ireland, I’m Australian, then you’ve got the Frenchman, and we’re all very competitive for our country to be top dog. We all push each other and a couple few bumps and bruises, but yes, it’s very physical. It surprised me.
You look like you have a lot of cuts… what are you shooting today?
Worthington: Today, I don’t know what they’re doing on first (unit). I’m bouncing between units, so I’ve just come from riding the motorized gimble which will be the flying horse, coming in to take on the Kraken, so we’re kind of getting towards the end of the journey, and obviously, he’s collecting wounds along the way, which I kind of think…. I hate it when you see that guy get that one little mark. I’m covered in them, the more the merrier for me.
There’s a theory that the true signs of an action hero is that they take more damage than they dish out. What kind of beatings have you taken?
Worthington: I think any actor who talks in beatings-up is just talking himself up. I tend to not bring them up. I know what I’ve took; the boys know what I’ve took. We’ll leave it at that. Let them talk about their little knee scrap (laughter). I know who took the most. And that’s true. I do believe any hero is a person that can be knocked down. A failure isn’t a person who gets knocked down; a failure is a person who stays down, and to me, the great heroes take the beating, get knocked down and stand back up again. Perseus is defined as one of the great heroes in literature, so you gotta take that on board.
Did you have any kind of athletic background of some kind?
Worthington: Well, I’m Australian. We spend more on sport than we do on education. (laughter)
I wondered about how you mixed your background as an actor and the athleticism when you make a movie like this.
Worthington: Mads is the gymnast. He was a gymnast and a dancer and he’s very athletic. I just tend to run headlong into it, see what happens.(laughter)
You mentioned how this was a big popcorn adventure movie. As an actor, how much reality do you bring to the character and how large do you go?
Worthington: It’s several things. As I was saying, the Gods can afford to be big and if you look at Ralph Fiennes’ performance, it’s huge, but every performance is not about how big or how subtle, it has to be grounded in some kind of reality. We have to believe in this world as characters. As actors, we can have a lot of fun, and I believe that as an actor you gotta dive into this world, especially as a five-year-old. The woodman to us is a woodman. It may not be a movie that takes itself too seriously, but we have to take it seriously, and by doing that, that will bring the audience in. We kind of look to what the Gods were doing and how they were dressed and to get a kind of differentiation between them and the mortals. We kind of pulled it back a bit and played it a little more subtle, and allowed them to be operatic and grandiose. I think that balance should help us.
In the original, Perseus has his band of men and we have no idea who any of then are. What is your relationship with each of them?
Worthington: Oh, man. We made a conscious effort for that. I’m sick of guys… I did a movie years ago called “Hart’s War” where I was fucking “Spear Carrier #1″ in the back (laughter). Was a waste of my time to be honest, and I’ve always said to myself that if I get into a position where I do a movie like this where there’s other guys, I would never ever have that. Mads’s (character) Draco is the complete opposite of me, the foil, he’s the leader of these guys who want to protect the Princess and gets a little teenage upstart who believes he can do anything, ’cause he’s on a revenge mission and he’s got nothing to lose. There’s an antagonism there which is all the way through. He says “Do it as a God,” and I say “Fuck that, let’s do it as men.” That’s the main kind of foil. Solon who is Liam Cunningham, would be, for want of a better word, your comic relief. He’s the old soldier. He’s Irish so his sense of humor is very dry and he can pull off a lot of the quips, and that gives it that “Indiana Jones” kind of feel… I can’t remember the name of the dude in the white. Then you got the two younger guys who are playing it as if they’re brothers, but they’re not, but they’re linking each other, and they’re kind of where the audience’s fear comes into it. If I’m running fully headlong into things, they’re the ones who are a little bit more trepidatious and that allows the audience to have both sides of the story. Then you got Io, who is Gemma. It took us a long time to figure out who she is, and that’s kind of changed as we’ve been filming the movie, to the point where you start running out of options and then we’ve only got three more scenes left where we can decide who she is. (laughter) It’s unfortunate for Gemma, because she’s going, “Who the fuck is my character?” but I think what it also does is it brings a solidarity amongst us as actors, to come up with a plausible kind of character for her. I think that she’s now the guardian angel, she’s like the sister of Perseus, really, in that kind of way, in the sense she not only heals him physically, but is trying to heal him inside. Perseus’ family gets killed so he goes Charles Bronson in “Death Wish” and will stop at nothing to get revenge, he’s holding a lot of anger in him. She teaches him how to heal that anger and to realize, “Don’t hold it in, just easy, just calm, grow up…” Hopefully, we’ve done a good pentagram balance.
Tell us about Pegasus as we’ve seen you riding.
Worthington: I hate that f*cking horse. Have they told you that? How I hate the horse? I hate it, I hate it. I can’t get near the f*cking thing without it eating me. It tries to bite me. It’s got an attitude problem. He’s done more movies than me. He’s done “Alexander” and “Prince of Persia,” so it’s all hot shit now isn’t it? It doesn’t come out of it’s trailer, mate. (laughter)
So asking about your relationship with the horse is a bad idea
Worthington: No, I hate it, and we’ve gone with it. I want it to be more antagonistic. I wanted to punch it in the head the first time I met it (laughter) like Arnold Schwarzenegger does to the camel (laughter). I thought that would be a real cool set-up. It has a go at me and I punch it, but we went another option. It still has a go at me, but we played it as if Perseus… if it’s got an attitude problem and it’s angry and frustrated for whatever reason the horse has decided (laughter) than Perseus has a bond with that. He’s not scared of it. He’s intrigued by it, and then Io comes in and she’s like the controller and has another kind of relationship with it. As well as calming the horse down, she’s learning to calm Perseus down. I thought that was kind of a neat little triangle.
Did that come out organically from this particular horse?
Worthington: (laughs) Yeah, it happened because I couldn’t go near it and cause it just doesn’t like me. I just spend most of my time on the mechanical horses. I’m letting down my country badly.
Well, that’s one way to avoid comparisons with the original…you kill Bubo and you punch Pegasus.
Worthington: We just thought we might as well… it’s a simple way of saying, “This isn’t the ‘Clash of the Titans’ that you’re used to.” We’re revving it up a bit. Bubo isn’t necessarily liked. The horse has an attitude problem. It’s not a soft fade kinda dandy-looking horse.
What scene do you look forward to seeing most once they’re done with post-production?
Worthington: Medusa, to see the speed of it, because we can’t really get an idea of the velocity that the CG Medusa will run at, so that will be interesting. Plus that’s a mega-piece anyway, and it was the first one we shot, so we were green going in. We didn’t really have our characters set down. I liked the scorpions a lot. I think there’s going to be a lot of fun with that, and I’m coming out of the damn thing with goo on….
I hear you came up with that.
Worthington: Yeah, it was a great idea at the time. I didn’t realize I’d be covered in good, and Louis is like, “Well, what do you think is inside the fucking scorpion?” And I went, “Shit” and you’re covered the whole day and it’s hot in Tellurife so it would kind of turn into hot plastic and you ended up with all these burns and stuff, but to me that sums up the movie. It was an idea that I went “Well, the scorpion jumps and you don’t quite know where Perseus is and he comes out of the scorpion.” You kind of laying down that that’s pretty fucking funny… I showed it to my nephew and he laughed. That’s the key, that’s the movie. It’s fun, it’s buoyant. It’s not Ridley Scott’s kind of historical epic feel to it.
There is a picture over your left shoulder of you screaming in front of a wall of flame.
Worthington: I do a lot of that.
Worthington: I dunno. I don’t think I’m saying much words in it. I yell a lot to be honest with you. I’m going to get criticized. “All Sam Worthington does is yell.” I tell you right now. All you guys on the internet, I’m telling you right now. There’s not one scene I do where I haven’t yelled. (laughter) It’s crazy. AAAAAAAGH! How much energy does it take? It wears you out, but if something has just happened to your mate and a big snake woman is coming at you, I’m sorry but you’re not going to be like this… “Oooooo.” You gotta yell and give it all you got, and that’s part of the fun of being five years old and fully committing to the situation, no matter how ridiculous it may seem.
It’s interesting. It sounds like you pay attention to what people say…
Worthington: Yeah, I read what all the bloggers write, hell yeah!
So you’re in this position because you’re sort of the up ‘n’ coming guy, and people are paying a lot of attention to you. Is that a lot of pressure?
Worthington: It’s pressure to do my job correctly more than anything. I got here because of all the moves I’ve done in Australia. I got me a good apprenticeship to be able to come into the big game or the big league, and I just gotta keep the pressure on myself. But regardless, I am a nerd at heart in a sense that I read what people say, because they’re my audience, and if you don’t know how you’re coming across, in my opinion, I think you’re cutting yourself off a bit, you know? I always put acting to sport, yeah? In a sense of if the fans are booing you, you know you have to play better, so we don’t necessarily have the bounce of a theater but we have the critics online, we have our critics in the newspaper, so I do take it all on board in order to kind of go, “Well, you know, they’re the ones paying 12 bucks, so I have to step up my game.” Or “Sam Worthington has to change this.” Well, alright, f*ck it, I’ll change that or back up the criticism that I get thrown at. “Why didn’t you do this?” I can now back up everything cause that to me, that helps my profession and links to what I believe my job is, which is to entertain people, that’s what my job is.
Isn’t this hard because you started on this before “Terminator” and “Avatar” have come out… so did you have any idea how you wanted to adjust your performance for big movies?
Worthington: No, because I don’t look at them as big movies, because to me, every scene, you basically just want something off the other person, that’s not going to change if it’s $200 million Greek mythology, outer space, or a $4 million Australian movie. The sentiment is still the same. “I want to… what? Kill the Medusa. I want to… what? Save my friend.” The bells and whistles are bigger, so there’s no pressure in regards to my work.
But it still has to feel bigger to you on a $200 million whatever.
Worthington: I tell you, with “Avatar,” it felt like an Australian film, it did, cause Jim closes you off, and Jim protects you, but I would be stupid to say you don’t want to make epic-scale movies when I was growing up. I like doing movie that I would go and see. But it feels big when you see, say, the set, but when you’re doing the scene and you’re in the moment, it doesn’t feel like, “Oooo… isn’t this cool? I’m doing such a big movie.” I think as soon as it starts feeling like that, I gotta call “Time out,” man, ’cause my head is wrong.
Now that you’re so much in the public eye, how much of what Sam Worthington is starting to not look like the real Sam Worthington?
Worthington: Not much, mate. I’m a 33-year-old Australian. It’s not really going to change that much, yeah.
Like you’re on the cover of Esquire Magazine and they talk about this guy…
Worthington: Well, what they want to write, especially in that article, he takes my swearing and spins it and suddenly thinks, “Oh, he’s a tough guy.” I am what I am, I say it how it is, it’s as simple as that, and people are going to spin it however they want. I realize off that article that I have no real control over it. I can maybe temper my language maybe, but it’s still me. I’m still going to be me, and people are going to take me for whatever they want to take me and spin it anyway they can just to sell their magazines.
I’m curious about when you’re making decisions. You’re doing all these big action films, and you’re attached to a few other projects. What are you thinking about with your career about different films, whether it’s romantic comedies or…
Worthington: I don’t think like that. I think “Who do I want to work with?” and then you don’t know who you want to work with because you might meet the director or actor of your dreams and they might be a complete idiot, so I meet someone like Louis and go, “Man, I liked Transporter 2, it’s pretty cool. I liked ‘Unleashed’ or whatever it was called over here.” He showed me some photographs, and I thought, “I can bring something to that and I can send a message to my 9-year-old nephew through it and I can have a lot of fun,” so that’s how I look at it. The job gets offered to me, and I meet the director or the other actor and go, “Do I want to spend four months of my life with this person?”
There’s no thought to mixing it up in different genres?
Worthington: I do whatever I want to do, because I believe this has romance in it, this has suspense in it, this has drama in it, this has action in it. I don’t necessarily see it just as a genre piece, do you know what I mean? It’s like if you just limit yourself to thinking like that, you lose the depth of character involved, but there’s no, “Oh, now I better go put a corset on and run around on a horse…”
What about your status as an action-hero? Between this and “Terminator,” you certainly seem to be moving into the vein of a Schwarzenegger or Stallone…?
Worthington: Yeah, you’re acting like a Jason Statham or a Vin Diesel… I make no bones that I like Russell Crowe and Harrison Ford and people like that, and Clint Eastwood, and they’ve got longevity in their careers. I don’t think you can really dictate labels and create labels. If I came in and said, “I’m the new It Boy and I’m an action hero,” you guys would laugh me out of the room… but you’re going to label me, so I just have to take it on the chin and go “Fair enough, boys!” There’s nothing I can do about it. All I can do is do my job and try to keep it truthful and honest and keep you guys and other people in the public and other directors intrigued by my performances and kind of enjoy what I do, then I can get another job… and then I can get another job.
Worthington: Well, you gotta go to your top boys, you gotta go to Spielberg, some people like that like Jim Cameron have raised the bar. All your Peter Jacksons who are right up there on your top echelons of guys you want to work with, and then you got… I haven’t seen it yet, “District 9,” that Neill Blomkamp guy. Now I’ve seen his shorts, and I sent that through to my agent, “Check out this dude.” I like the ads he did and the short he did with the robot in the cubicle, I thought they were real cool, and I saw that “Alive in Joburg” so you’re always on the hunt for someone else who is as hungry as you, ’cause you never know. This whole industry is searching for the turkey that lays the golden egg. You just don’t want to end up with the turkey. So I just keep looking and trying to find new guys.
As someone who pays attention to what people are saying, what was your take on the reaction to “Terminator”?
Worthington: “Terminator”? It was dark, there is no humor, that’s what we set out to do (chuckles). It’s kind of humbling the way they describe your performance against Christian’s but we have no control over that. We just have to try and do the best character we can do at that time, and there was a lot of kind of… I can nitpick with the best of them, man, and go down the list of things I saw on IMDB where they found holes in it and go, “You are fucking right… if there was a big 10-ton robot coming outside that gas station, surely we would fucking hear it!” (laughter) How did I miss that? So I go, “I’ve gotta be a bit fucking better when I’m looking through my scripts!” (laughter) So that kind of raises my game a bit, ’cause I feel like an idiot for not saying it to McG.
It sounds like you’re very hands-on with this especially in terms of development. Is that the case?
Worthington: Yeah, man. It said in that article that I give people a hard time, but they’ve spun it in a way that sounds bad. My job is to come in and ask “Why? Why? Why?” You know? “Okay, we need you to run from A to B?” If I don’t say “Why? What type of speed are you looking for? What am I after?” Question after question, then you can shave a monkey and get him to do it. My job is to do that, is to question the director so that all the holes are filled and then when you watch it, there’s not one thing that pulls you out of the movie or out of the story. That’s what I consider my job is to question and question this little baby we’re given in order to release it as an adult that can’t be faulted.
So what’s your relationship with Louis like?
Worthington: It took him a while. I think he must have had a bad experience, say on “Hulk,” from what we all hear about it. I haven’t really talked about it with him, but I can tell he was a bit gun-shy when we started, me coming in and saying “bumbumbum.” Mads is the same as me, and we both had the same kind of career in your own country that’s gotten you to where you are now. So we’re both used to working the same way and for a while, I think he was a bit scared because now, the reason he’s a good director is because he’s very open to collaboration be it changing lines or changing the scene completely or finding a different tone in the scene, hundreds of other kinds of things that you discover. That’s what makes a good leader, someone who is open and who realizes that to be a filmmaker isn’t necessarily just being a director. Filmmaker is her (points to publicist), me, the caterer, the costume department, A, B and C, we’re all making the film, and he realizes that.
How important is it for you going forward to deal with movies from the ground floor, being there at the beginning…
Worthington: Extremely important. That’s what I always wanted to aim for in the big league in America in a sense, because in Australia it got to that point where you come in and straight away you’re with a writer/director formulating what’s going on, so I had that opportunity and it’s extremely humbling and now I’m a very lucky man to be able to come in with a director like Louis six months prior, sit down and discuss with the writers the direction we should be taking and the tone of the piece and things like that. I’m extremely lucky at this early stage of my career.
Do you have any projects that you’d like to help usher yourself?
Worthington: If they pop up… I’ve got a mate and I sent him to Comic-Con to go and find stuff and man, he’s the dude. He plays Guitar Hero and reads comic books, and I thought, “Fuck it, I’ll put your on the payroll.” There aren’t movies getting made so I flew him to Comic-Con and he had a ball and said, “I met this person, this person, this person. I like this project and this project.” You sit down and talk and go, “Well, you’re the eyes and ears of people who are going to see movies, man,” so why not use him? I thought the bloke would go over there and get absolutely tanked (laughter) and go, “Did you see San Diego?” and he’d go “Where, what?” He surprised me completely, me and the other boys.
What did he bring you?
Worthington: He came back with lots of different material. He talked to a lot of different comic companies and he said like me, “Let’s get in on the ground floor. Before they even release (sic) a movie, let’s get in there and say, ‘This would be great for Sam or someone else with this director'” That’s the ultimate job for him, and I thought, “Why not? We do it for nothing anyway. We might as well get paid for it.”
We talked to you before “Terminator” about this and how you’ve been working on it all summer. How challenging is that as an actor to maintain that level of energy the entire summer?
Worthington: This has been my fifth one back-to-back since “Avatar” so I have had a break of about two weeks after all these movies. (to someone in room) I heard you say “Jesus” (laughter) It’s so funny because every other job, like a schoolteacher, they work and work and work and only get a couple of months off. But other jobs do and I’ve always been of this belief that actors… or I personally can be inherently lazy, whereas there’s nothing wrong with working nine, ten months of the year and working extreme hours and your days off rehearsing for your mates and go over your material. Bands do it, sportsmen do it, that’s why they’re at the height of their game, so I always thought with something like that, if I feel like I’ve got nothing to offer the project, I call ‘Time out” and take a break, and I feel that after this, I will need to go and kind of let my hair down a bit and go and grow up a bit and find what I want to say in the next movie that I go to do. So it’s been tough going because I feel as if I’m running out of steam and running out of… not zest, but it’s time to go, “You’ve done five, where’s the petrol going?” and then you have to go and find the service station. Take four months off and then do one in January, so just take four months and go do nothing… hang out with my mates.
Are you anxious about the release of Avatar in December?
Worthington: Well, it’s gotta hell of a lot of hype, dude. I’ve read what was all said yesterday about the trailer. I can see their point, but as I said, it’s not meant to be built for an Apple Mac. It’s built for IMAX, it’s built for 3D, that’s what he designed it for. He’s designed it to bring people back to the cinema. It’s interesting that he’s released that trailer, that Jim’s gone and done that, and then the next day shows it on IMAX. One extreme to the other. We get the criticism and then we get the rave reviews for what it really looks like in its own formula. That’s obviously going to get people to think and go, “Damn right! I’m going to go see this at the cinema.” Jim’s always said to me that he wants to bring people back to the movies, and he’s a smart enough man for that to be tactical.
When you talk about how you love the collaboration with Louis, there’s a perception of Cameron as being…
Worthington: Ultimate collaborator, ultimate collaborator. He’s the boss and he’ll have final say, but he’ll tell you, “Give me what you’ve got” and the first thing I said to him was, “I’ve got nothing to lose, man, I’ll give you everything.” So I threw everything at him, every idea, everything, and he’ll whittle it down to get what he wants, but that’s your job, is to offer and offer and offer. If you’re designing one of the plants or one of the spaceships, the guys would give him a hundred or a thousand different designs and Jim would go, “Take that and that, this from this, this from this,” and put it all together to get Jim Cameron’s spaceship, his Samson, his dragon and he’s the ultimate at that, man.
Which is more satisfying to you as an actor, doing that where you’re on a big green stage or this where you have everything built around you?
Worthington: A big green stage, all the volume that is nothing. It increases your skills, it takes it down to the essence of what acting is, which is reacting, so it’s more challenging in the sense of you’ve got nothing so Jim’s clever in that in “Avatar,” you would never act to nothing. If there’s an explosion, he’d throw stuff at you or hit you with a big stick so you’re hurled across the room or fire a gun so there was the sound of it, and it was the case of he’d always give you something to react to. The challenge is finding the right thing to make the reaction true, and also working with nothing takes it back to basics, which is just you and another person, there’s no distractions. It’s you trying to get something off the other person and them trying to get it off you. It’s pure and simple, yeah, so I love that.
What are you most excited to see in this film?
Worthington: It’s more that… look, I’ve got a nine-year-old nephew. I’ve said it all along. He’s a barometer for me in the sense of truth, because he’ll put a box on his head at Christmas time and pretend he’s a robot for 24 hours. He’s the ultimate actor, he never loses character. If we can surprise him and make him get excited and him to go back again and have a laugh, then that’s what I’m excited about. I can only start on that personal level, and I hope that if he does that then other people are going to go, “Oh, man, the scorpions are cool” and all that stuff, which you’re going to do anyway. It’s a fun movie.
Which of your action figures of yourself are you most excited to see?
Worthington: The “Terminator” one looks Mexican (laughter)… so you know, that’s a bit weird. The “Avatar” one will be dead-on because Jim will want it to be dead-on and the “Clash of the Titans” one I haven’t seen it yet but I don’t know what’s going to happen with that one.
You must be at the point where you have approval.
Worthington: Yeah, I had approval on the “Terminator”… I don’t know what happened, man. My mate looked at it and goes, “You look really tan, brother” (laughter) I look like “What’s the guy from CHiPS?” (laughter)
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