Ancient bed-head … Sam Worthington as reluctant hero Perseus.
Greg Truman, The Sydney Morning Herald, reports
Sam Worthington is armed with 'daggy' humour as Perseus in Wrath of the Titans.
Sam Worthington's performance in the Australian drama Somersault may seem an odd template for his latest swashbuckling Hollywood role as a monster-slaying, ancient Greek demigod but Wrath of the Titans is better for it.
Director Jonathan Liebesman (Battle: Los Angeles, Darkness Falls) is an unabashed fan of the actor in the 2004 Aussie indie film and urged Worthington to bring some of the intensity he brought to that dramatic role when it came to reprising the mythical character Perseus in the sequel to commercial blockbuster Clash of the Titans.
''He was so good in [Somersault],'' says Liebesman, a 35-year-old South African. ''He has a … quieter strength in that movie than other stuff. So we were trying to get him to embrace what he was good at.''
Worthington, whose global fame has been generated by his starring roles in Avatar, Terminator Salvation and 2010's Clash of the Titans, was pleased to bring a degree of complexity to Wrath.
Breaking the Hollywood mold, he had been publicly disparaging about his own performance in the hugely successful hit. Perth-raised Worthington was focused on ensuring he would add layers to the character for the sequel.
''I wanted [Perseus] to be a retired gunslinger,'' he says. ''He hasn't picked up his weapon for a while and he's rusty - he's going to get beat up.''
While the primary strength of the 3D version of Wrath is its thrillingly detailed computer-generated monsters, there is an effort to embellish the sometimes raucous fantasy with a more character-focused plot. In Wrath, Perseus, having defeated his evil grandfather, Kronos, is content with his life as a fisherman and father to 10-year-old Helius.
But Kronos is threatening to rise again, forcing Perseus into action to save his father, Zeus (Liam Neeson), and combat the threat of the demonic underworld. Amid the swordplay and impossible athleticism, Wrath also uses humour - ''daggy'' humour, Worthington says.
The actor's undisguised Australian accent, and the English dialects of co-stars Toby Kebbell (Agenor) and Bill Nighy (Hephaestus), may make some of the largely improvised gags difficult for American audiences to grasp but the levity is a welcome addition to the carnage.
''It lets the audience breathe,'' Worthington says.