"Avatar" star Sam Worthington has agreed to play a journalist/photographer in "Drift," an $11 million surfing drama set in the town of Margaret River, the actor has told the West Australian.
Inspired by a true story, the film will depict how surfing evolved from a rad pastime to a global industry that has spawned name brands such as Billabong and Rip Curl.
Worthington's character will be instrumental in that revolution, and the role should allow him the chance to stretch and showcase his dramatic range, which is what will ultimately determine whether the 34-year-old actor will have career longevity after he wraps James Cameron's planned "Avatar" sequels.
A lifelong surfer, Worthington describes himself as "a WA [West Australian] boy at heart, and to go back there and put something back into my home town is something I am really looking forward to. There's something pure and true about surfing, and there is something pure and true about this script," said Worthington.
Morgan O'Neill and sports specialist Ben Nott will direct (though The Playlist speculates that cinematographer Nott will merely serve as O'Neill's Director of Photography), while Tim Duffy will produce with Australian actor Myles Pollard.
Production is expected to begin during the next Australian autumn (America's spring) in order to take advantage of the big waves, moodier skies and, schedule permitting, the Margaret River Pro Surfing Event.
To this point, Worthington has disappointed as an actor. He surprised me when I first saw him in 2006 as the title character in Geoffrey Wright's violent version of "Macbeth," but since then, his performances in "Avatar," "Terminator Salvation" and "Clash of the Titans" have left me unimpressed.
That said, his upcoming work shows real promise. He co-stars with Helen Mirren and Jessica Chastain in John Madden's espionage movie "The Debt," and he'll reunite with the latter actress in Ami Canaan Mann's crime drama "The Fields." Worthington also stars in Massy Tadjedin's "Last Night" opposite Keira Knightley and Eva Mendes.
Additionally, Worthington is attached to star in a half-dozen other projects, including "Dan Dare," "Quartermain," "Man on a Ledge," "Dracula Year Zero," "The Last Days of American Crime" and several other films, so we'll see whether he actually finds the time to hang-ten Down Under on the set of "Drift."
Worthington is represented by CAA.