Interview with the star of Man On A Ledge…
In his new movie ‘Man On A Ledge’, Sam Worthington plays Nick Cassidy, a man who gambles everything in a bid to prove his innocence. Convicted of stealing a priceless diamond from a despicably duplicitous tycoon (Ed Harris) who framed him, the innocent ex New York cop conjures up a plot to clear his name, working in tandem with his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and Joey’s sexy girlfriend Angie, (Genesis Rodriguez).
Worthington goes to the top floor of New York’s Roosevelt Hotel. Apparently desperate, he is threatening to end his life while ‘negotiator’ and police psychologist (Elizabeth Banks) tries to talk him down and reason with him. Events unravel and crowds gather in the hectic Manhattan streets below, amidst mounting media frenzy. Kyra Sedgwick plays a TV reporter whipping up hysteria with her sensational broadcasts. (Meanwhile Joey and Angie are orchestrating a heist, trying to locate the diamond that Nick allegedly stole.)
Raised in Perth, Australian actor Sam Worthington,35, studied drama at Sydney’s National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). He made his film debut in the Australian film BOOTMEN, which was followed by DIRTY DEEDS, GETTIN’ SQUARE, MACBETH, SOMERSAULT, for which he earned an Australian Film Institute (AFI) Best Actor Award in 2004 and ROGUE.
He was singled out by acclaimed Oscar winning director James Cameron to take the lead in AVATAR (2009), which turned into the highest grossing film of all time, taking $2.74 billion at the global box office. Worthington has also starred in TERMINATOR SALVATION (2009) LAST NIGHT (2010) CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010) and THE DEBT (2011). His upcoming films include THE FIELDS, WRATH OF THE TITANS, DRIFT and THUNDER RUN.
Q: What was it like being out there on the ledge of a building filming for hours on end?
A: “I was up there pretty much for a couple of weeks, the adrenaline’s rushing all the time so it was exhausting at the end of the day and you can’t get complacent when you’re up there. You’ve always got a hand against the wall. It doesn’t induce vertigo, you’re aware of your surroundings but the brain can’t actually compute it.”
Q: Presumably you were safe?
A: “I had a safety strap, but I told the boys I wanted it to be very loose because I didn’t want to be constricted, I didn’t want to have something on me that I’d be thinking about all the time. I knew that it would jam like a seat belt when I fell off and that it would save me. I’ve always put trust in the stunt coordinator.”
Q: How challenging was it to make a film like this? Was it all physical?
A: “Every film has it challenges and its positives and negatives. You approach each project differently and as you’re doing it, everything starts to unravel. But I like this type of film. I thought it was a nice idea to have an action movie where the action guy is rooted to the one spot. How do you keep that dynamic? In the case of this movie it’s the pacing.”
Q: Was there any specific preparation for the role?
A: “I don’t think you can prepare. You just have to do it, get out of the window. It’s like falling in love! Until you do it yourself it’s hard to imagine.”
Q: There are some fantastic stunts in the movie and a great car chase, what was that like?
A: “I did the driving stunts myself. Lorenzo (the producer) got me in the car and told me to drive. I thought it was great fun and that was one of my favourite days. We had to plan out all the stunts meticulously. I was driving a family wagon, I didn’t think it would go very fast, but when you put it on mud in the rain it really spun. We hit the wall on one of the corners a couple of times and knocked out a camera, I said ‘keep going, keep going!’ I locked up the breaks a bit too hard at one point. But we knew we weren’t going to get hurt, we’d planned it all out with the stunt coordinators. For action scenes people think you get in the car and drive fast, but you spend more time on an action scene than you do on any other scene in the movie. I love it. That’s why I do all these movies. I really find the planning fascinating. I like to do something that people will go: ‘oooh that’s cool’.”
Q: How has your life changed since AVATAR?
A: “My life is still the same, if you want it to change you can let it, you can roll around with a big old entourage, you can think the sun shines out of you. But if you want to have a normal life where you walk the dog and do the shopping, you can do that as well. For my job I’ve got to battle aliens, stand on the ledge of a building, drive fast cars but when I go home I watch TV, I do my washing, I cook, I’m exhausted. I just want to do normal stuff.”
Q: How comfortable are you with fame?
A: “I don’t like all that stuff. I didn’t get into this to have my photo taken; if I wanted to be famous I would have gone on Big Brother. I just want to tell stories that make an audience feel they are getting their money’s worth, because if a guy who works in a power plant 12 hours a day all week goes with his family of four to see a movie, that’s a lot of money out of his pocket. So my job and responsibility is to entertain that man.
Q: What can you tell us about AVATAR 2?
A: “I can tell you it’s directed by James Cameron.(laughs) That’s about it. I don’t know when I am going to start. I see him next week in Australia so I’m going to ask him. I love working with Jim. It’s a war, It’s a circus and it makes you a better actor because he pushes you and I know he’s going to fucking destroy me (laughs) in the next one.”
Q: What’s your relationship like with Jim Cameron?
A: “He’s a friend, I can email him and phone him; he is guy who changed my life. Full stop. He just changed my whole world. I hung out with him doing that movie and I grew a hell of a lot. By Jim giving me the opportunity in AVATAR, which was embraced by so many people, it not only changed my life it changed my family’s life. Because of the level of success I’ve had, my parents don’t have to worry about a house or money or any of it. My sister didn’t want a house. I bought her a car, I bought her a Rav 4 (Toyota). She’s got kids and I thought it’d be good for driving around.”
Q: Can you say anything about your new film with Gerard Butler, THUNDER RUN?
A: “It’s an Iraq war film done with performance capture. It’s a true story about 300 tanks doing a race into Baghdad. The logistics of doing that for real would be mindboggling, it would cost too much money, so they’ve come up with this idea to create a whole world like AVATAR and TRON, and tell the story that way. What they showed me was unique. I don’t mind being a part of movies that trailblaze. It’s kind of cool.”
Q: What kind of roles do you go for? How do you choose?
A: “I pick a movie that I would go and see, to be honest I just read it and go, ‘would I pay $16 (10 pounds 50) to go and see it?’ My responsibility to an audience is to give them their money’s worth. If I think that something is worth going to see and we can do the job correctly, then hopefully I have done my job.”
MAN ON A LEDGE is now showing in Irish cinemas