Sam Worthington hints at what James Cameron's Avatar is about

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Sam Worthington, who stars in James Cameron's secretive sci-fi film Avatar, told a group of reporters on Friday that the movie will deal with basic questions about what it means to be human. Cameron's first narrative film since Titanic combines motion capture, computer animation and live action in 3-D.

"Jim's very in touch with personal relationships, what it means to be, especially with Avatar, what it means to be a man," Worthington said in a group interview in Beverly Hills, Calif., where he was promoting Terminator Salvation. "I can take that from it. How people were affected by bullies, all those kind of themes and a sense of hope, if you settle that and then surround it with great technology and f--kin' whiz-bang explosions, then you're on the path to making something that people remember when they leave the cinema and not kind of go, 'What did we just see?'"

Cameron has been focusing on the technology of Avatar in the limited appearances he's made for the film, keeping the story a secret. Worthington assures us that it is all in the service of a story. "Jim is always about story first," the Australian actor says. "He's a very actor-friendly director. You can put all the bells and whistles you like, but if it's not about revealing something about the human spirit, people are going to tune out."

Worthington fought for the role, first convincing Cameron he was right and then helping Cameron prove it to the studio. "I just went in and said, 'Look, I've got nothing to lose, man, so let's f--kin' get to work,'" Worthington said. "That was it. So for six months with Jim, we would do auditions for the studio. But it was more a sense of me getting to know this man that you're going to be spending a year of your life with. So I would say, 'Look, I've done 10 years in Australia, and I'll give you 10 years' worth of what I know. Can we work together?' It was the best six months before we even started filming."

Avatar opens Dec. 18.