Worthington stays true to storytelling 

Sam Worthington can’t compare his latest effects-heavy blockbuster, a bruising, 3-D remake of stop-motion innovator Ray Harryhausen’s “Clash of the Titans” (1981), to the one that made him the star of the biggest movie of all time — James Cameron’s “Avatar.”

But playing Perseus, the fearless warrior charged with saving humanity from the wrath of vengeful gods, presented its own set of challenges.

“Nothing compares to ‘Avatar,’ and you can see that at the box office,” says the English-born actor, 33, who spent his formative years in Western Australia. “It is its own beast, its own juggernaut. For all I know, filming hasn’t stopped. James is probably still working on it.

“I thought running around in a dress for ‘Clash’ was going to be a cakewalk, but it was more difficult than I imagined. [Director] Louis [Leterrier] shoots very fast; there’s a lot of energy on his set. And going to these extreme locations around Wales, sometimes shooting underwater, was tough.”

Last year alone, Worthington’s movies — “Avatar” and “Terminator Salvation” — grossed more than $850 million combined. Yet he has deliberately eschewed the trappings of a fast-rising star.

He arrives at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles casually clad in an Iron Maiden T-shirt and jeans. He owns neither a house nor a car. Even more remarkable, he seems genuine — totally at ease with the press, sprinkling his anecdotes with offhand profanities and slyly humorous asides. He hasn’t gone Hollywood.

As he tells it, that was always the plan. He admits that his life has changed considerably since Cameron picked him to play the conflicted hero at the heart of “Avatar” — “I’m a very lucky boy,” he says with a smile — but he has never lost sight of his foremost obligations.

“I’m not out here to be a star,” he says. “I’m here to tell stories, to help bring my director’s vision to the screen. People might think of me as being tough and heroic, or maybe a sensitive pussycat. I’m not concerned with what people write about me on the Internet. Those people don’t know me.

“I make the kind of movies I’d want to go see myself. That, for me, is a good barometer of whether I should take a role, and I love these escapist fantasies. But the most important part of my job is to make sure the people paying $16 to see these movies get their money’s worth.”

 

IF YOU GO

Clash of the Titans

Starring Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng, Gemma Arterton

Written by Travis Beacham, Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi

Directed by Louis Leterrier

Rated PG-13

Running time 1 hour 58 minutes

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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