When Sam Worthington took the titular part in Man on a Ledge, he was most excited about the thrilling script and gave less thought to the reality of the shoot. "I’m one of those actors who reads the story, gets lost in it, and goes, ‘Oh yeah, this is a real good title,'" Worthington told Movie Fanatic.
Then, he forgets about the execution. “As my mates said, ‘It’s called Man on a Ledge. (Expletive), you have to get out there.’ So, the first time I got on the ledge, I just said, 'Roll the camera. Let’s see what we get.' That’s the first bit you see me doing in the movie. It’s the first time I ever did it. I was lucky I didn’t burst into tears and go into a fetal position,” he said and busted out laughing. “It would have been a bit different for the film. I don’t think I had a fear of heights. I think I had a fear of falling and hitting the ground.”
While out on that ledge, Worthington needs to anchor the film and move the plot along to thrilling results. He noticed several things while up on that ledge that could serve as long-lasting lessons. “It improved my life a bit,” Worthington said. “In the end you do get a bit comfortable up there. When you got cocky, you really needed to rely on that.”
One particular scene that gets audiences to sit up in their chairs is when a news helicopter swoops in on Worthington out on his ledge. By law, they couldn’t actually fly a helicopter that close to a building. The actor pushed the envelope in order to get the shot. “The helicopter itself is CG but they just blew a lot of wind at me. I kept saying, ‘Ramp it up. Ramp it up. Try to blow me off.’” Worthington reported. “The more realistic it was, the more I have to hold on.”
Jamie Bell plays his brother in Man on a Ledge and their kinship is quite believable, although they shared few scenes. “I’ve known Jamie a while so it was quite easy, and when he came on set, he butched up a bit. I said, ‘What are you doing?’ He goes, ‘You’re a tough guy. I’ve got to be like a tough guy too.’ I said, ‘I’m acting as well, mate. I’m a pussycat.’ I said, ‘We’re both pretending here,’” Worthington recalled and laughed. “It’s good to know someone. You have a freedom with them. And then, when you’re doing scenes with him, I like the fact that the brothers have a go at each other all the time. That’s real. It wasn’t written that way. It kind of developed over the course.”
Up next for Worthington, in terms of where audiences can see him, is Wrath of the Titans. It sounds like an experience that was both driven by atonement and astonishment. “I felt in the first one that I kind of let the audience down a bit by not delivering a character. I was a (expletive) generic, bland action dude. That was it. I was like a Barbie doll,” he said. “I didn’t like myself for doing that. I dropped the ball, man. I’ll admit it. And in Wrath of the Titans, I wanted to pick it up and create something that was a unique character that a kid can go, ‘I like this guy. I want to go on a journey with that character.’ I reckon we cracked it. It’s absolutely awesome. It rocks!”
Now, we couldn’t sit with Worthington and not chat about Avatar 2. Although he can’t talk about the plot, he has a little Avatar scoop for Movie Fanatic. “I see him next week,” the actor said of Avatar creator James Cameron. “Jim’s told me quite a bit. I’d love to get back into it because I like working with Jim. It’s a war. It’s a circus. It makes you better as an actor. You go into the motion capture world, there’s no hiding. I mean, you work with Jim Cameron and he pushes you that much so that all the cobwebs and bad habits I’ve picked up since then will be washed away. He’s going to (expletive) destroy me,” Worthington said, laughing. “There’s a part of me that’s scared.”