LAS VEGAS -- Sam Worthington has gone from part-human, part-alien warrior of the distant future in "Avatar" to half-human, half-god warrior of the ancient past in "Clash of the Titans."
He's also gone overnight from an Australian actor little-known outside his home country to an international star, his Hollywood breakout starting last year with one of the lead roles in "Terminator Salvation."
"My whole life is changed," Worthington, 33, said during an interview at the recent ShoWest convention for theater owners, where he received an award as male star of the year. "There's a difference between having a career in Australia, a successful career there, and a successful career worldwide."
Stardom has been in the wings for a while, since James Cameron chose Worthington more than three years ago to star in "Avatar" as a paralyzed human who finds new life in the body of a 10-foot-tall blue alien on a distant moon.
While on hiatus during the long production of "Avatar," Worthington shot "Terminator Salvation," a continuation of Cameron's own franchise about humanity's future war with machines.
Then after finishing "Avatar,"
Worthington moved on to "Clash of the Titans," a remake of the 1981 adventure in which he stars as Greek hero Perseus, caught up in a battle between humanity and the Olympian gods, including his father, Zeus.
Worthington said he only vaguely remembered the original movie.
"We obviously reacquainted ourselves with it and then just ramped ours up to 11. We've got no bones about it. Ours is a fun ride," Worthington said. "Some movies you do because they're a ... lot of fun. That's what this one was. Me in a skirt with a rubber sword, killing monsters. It ain't that hard. That's a good day at the office."
Trained at Australia's National Institute of Dramatic Art, Worthington's earlier credits include such smaller films as "Somersault," "Bootmen" and "Dirty Deeds" and bigger productions such as "Hart's War," "The Great Raid" and "Rogue."
Worthington has shot two smaller tales -- the romantic drama "Last Night" with Keira Knightley and the thriller "The Debt" with Helen Mirren -- and is about to start work on the crime story "The Texas Killing Fields," produced by Michael Mann.
He laughs when people ask him how he aims to balance big and small movies, though. Worthington said he's not worried about balance -- he'll take the biggest jobs Hollywood might toss his way.
"I'm lucky. I've already had a career. This is chapter two. Some people in my position would get nervous to say things like that," Worthington said. "I did 15 movies in Australia, and they were movies that I would go to see. Now I'm on a bigger level. My whole big thing was, if you get to do these massive blockbuster movies that get out in the zeitgeist and the audiences are embracing them -- I'm going to see 'Clash of the Titans' -- so why not have the opportunity to actually be in them?
"I'm not going to spend six weeks on something I hate or a movie I would never go and see just for balance. I can't see why I should do that."
The big career move most fans will clamor for is more on the "Avatar" front.
Cameron's science-fiction epic has become the biggest modern blockbuster with $2.7 billion worldwide and climbing.
Before "Avatar" hit theaters last December, Cameron said he had ideas for two sequels if the first one was a success. No definite plans have been announced.
"He's definitely got ideas, but he's the boss. I can't talk out of school."