You may have heard some nitpicking in the blogsphere (or the Twitterverse [or whatever arbitrary cybercommunities you call home]) last week when the trailer for James Cameron’s “Avatar” made its long-awaited debut.
You know who else heard the nitpicking?
That would be “Avatar” star Sam Worthington, who is, it turns out, a voracious reader of online analysis and prognostications. [If you’re reading this, “Hi, Sam Worthington.”]
Talking with a select group of reporters on the set of his next big-budget epic, Warner Brothers’ remake of “Clash of the Titans,” Worthington acknowledged some of the concerns about the trailer, which had hit the Internet fewer than 24 hours earlier.
“It’s gotta hell of a lotta hype,” Worthington told us at the “Titans” set an hour outside of London. “I read all what was 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’s designed it for. He’s designed it to bring people back to the cinema. It’s interesting that he’s released that trailer, Jim’s gone and done that, and the next day, he shows it on IMAX. It’s one extreme to the other. We get the criticism and then we get the rave reviews of 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 and see this at the cinema.’ Jim has 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.”
[And yes, reaction to the IMAX tease of “Avatar” was noticeably more enthusiastic.]
Worthington had only good words for Cameron’s much-vaunted dedication to the long-gestating “Avatar,” but scoffed at the idea that the erstwhile King of the World was an on-set autocrat.
“The ultimate collaborator,” was how Worthington described Cameron. “He’s the boss and he’ll have final say, but he’ll tell you, ‘Gimme what you’ve got’ and the first thing I’ve said to him is ‘I’ve got nothing to lose, man, I’ll give you everything.’ So I threw everything at him, every idea, and he’ll whittle it down to get what he wants, but that’s your job, to offer and offer and offer. If you’re designing one of the plants or one of the spaceships, the guys who give him 100 or a thousand different designs and Jim can go and say, ‘That and that and this and this’ then put it all together to get Jim Cameron’s space, his Samson, his dragon, and he’s the ultimate at that, then.”
We returned, again, to Worthington’s appetite for online commentary and his own reaction to fan reaction to “Terminator Salvation,” which has taken in $370 worldwide, while also accumulating its share of detractors (to put things nicely).
“It was dark, there is no humor. That’s what we set out to do,” Worthington insisted. “It’s kind of humbling the way they described your performance against Christian’s, but we have no control over that. We just have try and do the best character we can do at that time. And 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 f***ing right. If there was a big ten-ton robot coming outside that gas station, surely we would f***ing hear it!’ And I missed that! So I go, ‘I gotta be a bit better when I’m looking through my scripts!’ So that kind of raises my games a bit, cause I feel like an idiot for not saying it to McG.”
Of his interest in reading up on himself, Worthington’s logic seems solid.
“I am a nerd at heart in the sense that I read what people say, because they’re my audience. If you don’t know how you’re coming across, in my opinion, I think you’re cutting yourself off a bit,” he said. “I always put acting to sport in the sense that if the fans are booing you, you know you’ve got to play better. 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 go, ‘Well, they’re the ones paying 12 bucks, I’ve got to step up my game.’ Or ‘Sam Worthington has to change this,’ well f*** it, I’ll change that… That to me, that then helps my profession and links what I think my job is, that’s to entertain people.”
“Avatar” hits theaters on Dec.
“Clash of the Titans” is already slated to open on March 26, 2010.