How do you follow up riding a banshee to save Pandora in the 2009 blockbuster Avatar? If you're Sam Worthington, you jump right back on a winged horse and save the Greek city of Argos in Clash of the Titans. Worthington talked to TIME about his latest 3-D spectacle, his love for James Cameron and why he wouldn't mind going to hell.
Liam Neeson plays Zeus in Clash. That's a big part the big-cheese god. He was played by Laurence Olivier in the 1981 original. How does Liam rank?
No offense to Larry, but I'm going with Liam. Look at the guy's career. It's the natural progression for him to be the god of gods.
You head to Hades in this film. Do you believe in the afterlife?
I'm not going to say, because if I get up to heaven and there's a big dude some 8-ft.-tall guy with a stick and he says, "You didn't believe in me, did you, mate?," I'm screwed. And if I go to hell, I should be O.K., because all my mates will be there with me. But I do believe in something. There has got to be something bigger than us.
That would be James Cameron, right?
He's definitely my god.
Harry Hamlin is Perseus in the original Clash. Straight mano a mano sword fight who wins?
I have to give that one to Harry. That guy was on Dancing with the Stars. He's got some moves.
One thing he definitely trumps you on that head of hair.
That was the reasoning behind shaving my head. Straight away we separated ourselves [from the original]. I've been mocked for that on blogs, but his tresses are an iconic image. So I went the opposite way and made it a bit more modern. Someone told me that they didn't have buzz cuts in those days. And I said, "Well, they didn't have winged horses either. It's a movie."
We don't see nearly enough of the campy talking owl Bubo from the original in this Clash.
He makes an appearance here. But he was sort of like R2-D2 in the original one. You have to be careful with those little nods to the [original] audience. My nephew ain't going to get that. Mads Mikkelsen [(Draco)] didn't even get it. He didn't see the original, so he didn't know what the owl was.
In the wake of Avatar, do you have people come up to you conversing in Na'vi?
Jim Cameron and I did have two people come up to us that were painted blue. They are out there.
You're heading into another geek group with Clash the zealot Greek-mythology clan. Are you ready for the purist storm?
Ours isn't a history lesson. We set out to make a fun roller-coaster kind of ride. If we were really doing it for the history buffs, Perseus would be naked. I don't think anyone would want to see me like that.
I know more than a couple of people that would like to see that, actually.
That's very kind. I'm blushing.
What did you think of Ben Stiller's spoof on you at the Oscars?
It was great. We got a kick out of it. Jim Cameron leaned over to me as it happened and said, That's the reason we did it in CG. Having me running around painted blue in a loincloth well, that's why we did it motion-capture.
No latest news on the Avatar sequel?
The boss hasn't called me up. When he calls, I'll jump.
When are you going to lose the tough-guy persona?
You guys give me the tough-guy persona. I'm a sensitive soul.
Sensitive souls whack Medusa?
That's the thing. I look at people like Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson. They had humor and romance and vulnerability in their action movies. That's what I have striven to do.
So when is the Sam Worthington musical coming out?
Have you ever heard me sing? I'm like a cross between Bob Dylan and a cat. I cannot sing, mate.