Avatar Star Almost Murdered A Dog Preparing For Their Role

Avatar star Sam Worthington nearly shot a poodle with a bow and arrow while getting into character as Jake Sully.

By Zack Zagranis | Updated

Avatar: The Way of Water star Sam Worthington got a little too method during preparation for the original film and almost shot a poodle with a bow and arrow. In a Variety article celebrating the 10th anniversary of the original Avatar, James Cameron spilled the beans on how Worthington almost made a pooch-kebab in Hawaii.

According to Cameron: “There’s a guy walking his poodle. And Sam just instinctively draws his bow and almost shoots the poodle. He was so in character.”

When it comes to the Avatar world of Pandora, everything you see on screen is digital, meaning the actors were essentially performing the whole movie in front of a green screen. The only way James Cameron could make sure stars Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana knew how to accurately portray what it’s like to live and breathe in a lush natural landscape was to have the cast and crew spend some time in Hawaii during pre-production. Something Cameron repeated for Avatar: The Way Of Water.

It was during this Hawaiian vacation that Sam Worthington tried to play Robin Hood, mistaking an innocent dog for the Sherrif of Nottingham. Method-acting mishaps are nothing new in Hollywood. Leonardo DiCaprio prepared for his Oscar-winning turn in The Revenant by eating raw bison and sleeping in animal carcasses, and Jamie Foxx glued his eyelids shut for Ray.

Canine homicide would have definitely taken bad method acting to a new level, however. Luckily for everyone involved, Sam Worthington was able to snap himself out of it before he put down a perfectly healthy poodle. If not, the whole trajectory of Avatar may have been different.

Would the original Avatar still have earned $2.9 billion at the worldwide box office if the production had the death of someone’s pet associated with it? Or would a Sam Worthington poodle murdering incident have caused Avatar to bomb, creating a domino effect that would have deprived the world of the phenomenon known as Avatar: The Way Of Water? Fortunately for James Cameron and movie lovers all over the globe, we never had to find out how this dark scenario would have played out.

Close calls with pets aside, whatever it is that Sam Worthington has to do to get into the right headspace to play Jake Sully, it’s obviously working. Avatar: The Way Of Water has grossed over $2 billion at the box office, overtaking Spider-Man: No Way Home and claiming the title of the fifth highest-grossing movie of all time in the process.

Whether The Way Of Water has what it takes to become the number-one movie of all time remains to be seen but given Cameron’s track record, it’s a definite possibility. And with Avatar 3 and 4 coming much sooner than the long-delayed The Way Of Water, the franchise is set to join Star Wars and Harry Potter as one of the world’s most popular IPs.

Sam Worthington’s Jake Sully may someday be synonymous with characters like Luke Skywalker and The Boy Who Lived, a feat that may not have been possible if Sam had let go of that bowstring.