Sam Worthington Talks 'Avatar 2', 'Thunder Road', and 'Wrath of the Titans'

Tuesday, 10 January 2012 12:38 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Sam Worthington Talks 'Avatar 2', 'Thunder Road', and 'Wrath of the Titans'

A few years ago, Sam Worthington was a less globally-recognized name than his fellow Australians Yahoo Serious or Paul Hogan, but starring in the biggest movie of all-time for director James Cameron certainly changed that quite a bit.  After playing paraplegic Marine-turned-messianic-leader Jake Sully in 2009's Avatar, Worthington quite suddenly found himself legitimized as a leading man on level rarely attained by actors of any stripe. 

Since taking his first trip to Pandora, Worthington has appeared in a variety of projects, from starring as Perseus in the 3D remake Clash of the Titans to acting alongside Keira Knightley in the relationship drama Last Night and Jessica Chastain in the Mossad thriller The Debt.  His next film, Man on a Ledge, finds him playing the title character, a wrongly-accused criminal with an elaborate and risky plan to clear his name.  While promoting Man on a Ledge, Worthington sat down with international journalists for a roundtable interview during which he provided updates on some of his new projects, including Thunder Road, the Avatar sequels, and this year's Wrath of the Titans.

Late last year, Worthington's participation in Thunder Road was announced, and initial descriptions of the film had some people scratching their heads.  The film, directed by Con-Air and The Expendables 2 helmer Simon West, is an Iraq War drama co-written by Black Hawk Down writer Ken Nolan and co-starring Gerard Butler.  Here's the part that many find befuddling: Thunder Road is a motion-capture film, utilizing the sort of technology usually reserved for science-fiction event pictures.

Worthington confirmed that the production gets underway in May, and also shed some light on the story and the motivation behind using motion-capture.  "That's like a motion capture war film, which in itself is kind of bizarre," he admitted. "It's a true story about 300 tanks rolling into Baghdad. To do that logistically would be a nightmare, it would cost you quizzillion in dollars, and to reset 300 tanks each time is impossible. So they've come up with a way where they've designed it and using the technology like the Avatar used and Tron used, they've shown me this screener of what they wanna do and I thought well look, it's a great experiment, it's real high risk, but I'd love being part of something that's kind of at the forefront, let's give it a go. So I signed on. Plus I love the story. I think the story is amazing."

While he's not entirely sure what the final product will look like, he clarified a bit, saying, "From what I saw it was a bit of the Tron stuff when they did Jeff Bridges, made the young Jeff Bridges, but it's 100% better than that because they've been working on it."

Further in the future are the continuations of Avatar, which James Cameron plans on making a trilogy, with the second and third installments filming simultaneously.  Thanks to the phenomenal success of the first film, the sequels are already hugely anticipated, but even Worthington isn't certain when he'll reprise his role as Jake Sully. "Avatar 2 I'm not too sure when it starts," he said. "I'm definitely not too sure when it'll finish."

"Well [Cameron] hasn't written it," Worthington continued. "I don't know if he's written it. I'll see him next week so I'll ask him, but I know he's got the story, he's told me the story. But it's Jim time man. You're in Jim's world, he's in a hurry. He just made the two biggest movies of all time. He has to push himself. I know Jim. Jim's not gonna do a movie if it's just his Avatar 2, it's like the first one, just as a two on. He's gonna push the boundaries and he's gonna make the audience go, 'What the? Man, you've raised the bar again!'"

As for just what Cameron is planning in order to properly escalate the action in continued adventures on the alien moon, Worthington said, "He's got mad ideas! He's off the charts with his ideas at the moment."

One idea consistently mentioned by Cameron has been the notion that the sequels will leave behind the jungle and explore the underwater environs of Pandora.  The director's lead actor waxed enthusiastic when the idea came up, saying, "That's the tip of the iceberg, you wait! He's told me and I had to lie down half way because I asked him, 'How will you do this?' And in typical Jim fashion he goes 'We're just gonna do it, we'll figure it out.' I can't wait, I cannot wait."

Long before any more Avatar movies, though, audiences will see the first sequel in Worthington's other 3D franchise, with the Clash of the Titans sequel arriving this March.  Having recently seen a working cut of Wrath of the Titans, the actor commented, "It's awesome! It's really good man! I watched it the other day, I love it! I'm really excited for it to come out, which is the first time in a long time I've ever felt like that for a movie."

While the first film made plenty of money, audiences were largely underwhelmed, and the use of post-conversion 3D was widely criticized.  Worthington himself has long been publicly critical of both the film's story and his own performance, but he says the sequel, directed by franchise newcomer Jonathan Liebesman, is a vast improvement.

"I personally felt like I dropped the ball a bit for whatever reason," Worthington said. "My own fault really. I looked at it and I don't like Perseus. I don't like the performance. I don't think I created a character. I think it's a generic bland action hero. It could be played by anybody. And that's not my job. I've let down an audience. So in this one I sat with the director and we really knotted out what did we want this Perseus to be and who do we want him to be as a character?"

"So now an audience can have a way in and then go on these journeys and these adventures," he continued. "That's my responsibility and I kind of, you know, I made a mistake on the first one and I'm extremely lucky that we got a second chance. And then the movie itself we kind of...yea it's got its...you know it's gonna be in a Greek mythological world, you know it's got its big ass monsters, that's what these kind of movies have.  It's a spectacle, a blockbuster, but at its core it's about fathers and sons. And me and Lim and Jonathan really worked hard on going well let's give this movie a heart because an audience demanded it. They've arced up, they told us, so we better fucking listen. I'm really excited for that movie to come out."


Man on a Ledge arrives in theaters on January 27th.  Wrath of the Titans, meanwhile, assaults a theater near you in 3D (Rogue 3D Eyewear, anyone?) on March 30th.

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