EXCLUSIVE: Sam Worthington reveals why James Cameron wanted Lara and his kids on the Avatar 2 set

Good things take time
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Sam Worthington knows only too well that you can’t rush great art.

In 2009, he found himself at the centre of a cinematic phenomenon when he starred in director James Cameron’s Avatar, a live-action and computer-generated epic that took its audience into a universe where giant blue aliens battled mankind – and the aliens were the good guys.

The film smashed box-office records and became the highest-grossing film of all time. And while the sequel may have taken 13 years to happen, the Australian star insists Avatar: The Way of Water is well worth the wait.

”Good things take time, and great things might take a little longer,” Sam, 46, tells TV WEEK.

”It took a long time for Jim [Cameron] to come up with the ideas of the story. And then it took a lot of time to get others on board to help write and design that story.”

Sam Worthington is returning as Jake Sully.

(IMAGE: Getty)

With state-of-the-art technology used to create the fictional world, the crew had to figure out how to create a culture that lives underwater.

”In this film you have a whole bunch of new characters, so the world has got bigger… I don’t think Jim was ever fearful of time,” Sam says.

”Patience is a good thing, and I appreciate a filmmaker who does that rather than just looks at their movie like a factory.”

The years of planning have paid off with this sequel – the first of three planned Avatar movies – as we pick up the story years after Sam’s character Jake Scully joined the alien Na’vi to save their planet from human miners.

With a family of his own alongside wife Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) – whom he fell for in the world of Pandora – Jake is living peacefully, until he’s called back into action again to protect those he loves.

Sam Worthington on set during motion capture alongside director James Cameron.

(IMAGE: Supplied)

It’s a theme Sam can relate to as a father-of-three with wife (and former model) Lara Worthington. They joined him on set during filming – (“Jim said, ‘We’re making a movie about family; why would I ban them from the studio?”’ Sam says of the family environment) – which helped with his performance.

”As soon as you have kids, you tap into that protective instinct” he adds.

”I bring a lot of that to the movie.”

It’s a theme he feels will resonate with audiences again.

”We’ve all gone through COVID and understand connectivity is important,” he says. “Familial love on whatever level – whether it’s immediate family or communal family – is the nourishment we need in our time spent on Earth.

”Jim kept stressing that as we were filming, saying, ‘Yes, we can do scenes underwater and can show more spectacular vision – but if we don’t understand this [story] is about a family, then no-one’s going to remember it when we come out.”’

Avatar: The Way of Water will be in cinemas from December 15.

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