Star to Watch
By far the most crucial moment in Worthington's career came when director James Cameron tapped the gruff-looking former bricklayer to play the lead in "Avatar," Cameron's astonishing sci-fi extravaganza that's become an international phenomenon. In the landmark movie, which stretches the limits of make-believe and special effects technology, Worthington plays Jake Sully, a paraplegic war veteran who signs up for a truly out-of-body experience on a distant moon. In a performance that is both flesh and blood and enhanced via motion-capture methods and computer-generated imagery, Worthington brings a good-old-boy familiarity to the John Smith-like protagonist without sacrificing sophistication. Despite allowing tinges of Aussie to slip into his American accent, he proves himself fully capable of carrying a major film.
He'll get his chance again this March, playing the lead role of Perseus in director Louis Leterrier's remake of the Greek-myth saga "Clash of the Titans." Co-starring Liam Neeson as Zeus and Ralph Fiennes as Hades, the fantasy flick looks to be an impressive follow-up to "Avatar," which is easily one of the best films of 2009. Also in the works for Worthington is "The Debt," a dramatic thriller about a Nazi war criminal directed by John Madden ("Shakespeare in Love") and co-starring revered thesps Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson and Ciaran Hinds. What can't be far behind is an "Avatar" sequel, which has been hinted at by Cameron and is likely all but confirmed given the introductory installment's enormous success.
Sam Worthington discusses "Avatar":