The shortlist for roles in movies is always interesting to see. It’s fun to see what actors were considered before a role was given to the person who eventually brought it to the big screen. Sometimes, it means that actors miss out on massive franchises that could have made their careers. In this case, the person who got the role is in a massive franchise but the two people who didn’t get the role might actually be better off. James Cameron recently did a podcast with Empire called Avatar – An Empire 30th Anniversary Podcast Documentary. In it, he revealed that Chris Evans and Channing Tatum were on the shortlist for Jake in Avatar, the role that eventually went to Sam Worthington.
“Chris Evans, and Sam, and Channing Tatum. That was my choice,” he revealed. “I really liked Channing’s appeal. I liked Chris’ appeal. They were both great guys. But Sam had a quality of voice and a quality of intensity. Everybody did about the same on all the material through the script, except for the final speech where he stands up and says, ‘This is our land, ride now, go as fast as the wind can carry you.’ That whole thing. I would have followed him into battle. And I wouldn’t have followed the other guys. They’ve since gone onto fantastic careers and all that, but Sam was ready. He was ready.”
We do have to think that this was Evans and Tatum from roughly 2007 or 2008 so they were far from the superstars they are today. We just have to wonder if either of them had gotten the role over Worthington and what kind of movie Avatar would have looked like. It very much sounds like Cameron got the man he wanted, which is good for the creative process and good for Worthington to have a huge franchise starting up again.
Avatar 2, directed by James Cameron, stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore, Dileep Rao, CCH Pounder, and Matt Gerald. It will be released on December 18th, 2020. Avatar 3 will open December 17th, 2021, Avatar 4 is set of December 20th, 2024, and Avatar 5 will open December 19th, 2025.