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Avatar - Sam Worthington & Zoe Saldana interview


Interview by Rob Carnevale

SAM Worthington and Zoe Saldana talk about some of their experiences of working with James Cameron on Avatar, including the early days of preparing scenes semi-naked in Hawaii.

Q. How was it seeing the Avatar versions of yourself, especially your facial characteristics, for the first time?
Zoe Saldana: It blew my mind. Jim would always incorporate us in the process of the results that we would get from Weta and all the other companies we were working with, and we just couldn’t find words to express how we couldn’t find words to express how we’d feel. It was something so wonderful and so beautiful and it looked so much like us.

Sam Worthington: I try to be a subtle actor and my biggest fear was that the nuance of a performance wouldn’t translate. I believe, hopefully, that it’s my performance, that it captures every smirk, every goofy walk, that it has encapsulated my spirit, that and hopefully after a while you watch it and it’s not a group of blue people, but us.

Q. Zoe, was it difficult to keep up with Jim’s vision?
Zoe Saldana: I think if we didn’t have enough reference points then it would be… but we went to Hawaii for a few days and wore little dental floss style outfits and spent four days jumping up and down in the rainforest getting our feet wet and learning to walk on that kind of ground and seeing the sun on the trees and cooking fish on the ground and by the time we came back, because I think, Jim knew that he was hiring people to make something out of thing air, the least he could do was take them to experience things and answer every question. There was no such thing as a stupid question, as a redundant question. There was always research, anything that we needed so that that by the time he said action, this world seemed real, so much so, that everybody around us was seeing it as well. It just brought it back to a child like form of role-playing. You’re trying to gain back your innocence.

Q. Sam, don’t you have a story about the rainforest?
Sam Worthington: Yeah, we had nothing on but a light g-string a couple of ears a tail and a wig. I thought Hawaii was going to be a holiday and I could go surfing. But we got there and it was work. But we had this guy walk past us and he goes: “What are you doing?” And I said: “We’re making a movie.” He asked: “Who’s the director?” And I said: “That bloke over there…” And Jim was over there with a handy cam. So he goes: “Is that James Cameron?” d I said “yes”, and he said: “Fuck, he’s gone down hill since Titanic.”

Read our review of Avatar

Read our interview with Stephen Lang