Sam Worthington goes to extremes with his film career, especially new action-thriller "Man on a Ledge"
From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Sam Worthington goes to extremes
While he prefers simple pleasures at home, the “Avatar” action star gets plenty of thrills on the job. His latest movie, “Man on a Ledge,” required him to film more than 200 feet above a busy New York City street.
LOS ANGELES — At home, Sam Worthington enjoys simple pleasures like hanging out with his girl, walking his dog Bacon and watching “Law & Order” marathons.
The star of action blockbusters like “Avatar,” “Terminator Salvation” and “Clash of the Titans,” he gets plenty of thrills on the job.
In the titular role of “Man on a Ledge,” his latest adrenaline-pumping movie, Worthington, 35, faced his primal fear of heights by filming more than 200 feet above 45th Street in midtown Manhattan on a real ledge of the historic Roosevelt Hotel.
“I’m one of those actors that reads a script and doesn’t think or forgets that he has to do what he’s reading. And I said to my mate the first day, ‘They want me out on the ledge.’ He goes, ‘It’s called “Man on a Ledge,” you (expletive) idiot. What did you think you were going to be doing?’ ‘Aw, man,’ so then you get up there, and it’s like ‘Here we go. Better jump in now,’” he said with a chuckle during interviews earlier this month at the Four Seasons Hotel, where he stayed safely in a chair.
“Russell (Crowe) has this story about ‘Gladiator’ where he said he was so enthralled with the script he forgot that he actually had to wrestle tigers. So when they get there and they bring out the tiger, he was like ‘What the (expletive) that for?’ They said, ‘It’s in the script you idiot.’ So it’s the same thing with the ledge, it’s like ‘Why are we here?’”
In “Man on a Ledge,” the Australian actor plays Nick Cassidy, a former New York City cop wrongly imprisoned for a stealing a priceless diamond from ruthless businessman David Englander (University of Oklahoma alumnus Ed Harris). When he is furloughed to attend his father’s funeral, Cassidy pulls off a daring escape, checks into the Roosevelt and makes his stand on the ledge proclaiming his innocence. Embattled police negotiator Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) is summoned to try to talk him down, but she quickly realizes that Cassidy has more in mind than just being heard. The film also stars Jamie Bell as Cassidy’s brother Joey, Genesis Rodriguez as Joey’s girlfriend, Anthony Mackie as Cassidy’s former partner and Edward Burns as Lydia’s professional rival.
“It’s a different action movie ‘cause the action star is rooted to the spot,” Worthington said. “That’s kind of bizarre, so it’s trying to keep the dynamics of those scenes … where it is just like a play back and forth between me and Elizabeth. You just then rely on the fact that you’ve got a talented actress to help you through it.”
Asked to describe his first time to step out on the ledge, Worthington responded with a raspberry.
“That sums it up. It was nerve-wracking, and you see it in the movie. The first time I went on the ledge is the first time in the film when I step out. ‘Cause I said, ‘Let’s just roll the camera; let’s see what happens.’ I was lucky I didn’t kind of burst into tears or curl up in fetal position, ‘cause that wouldn’t have been a good start to the movie,” he said with a laugh.
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