Entertainment Movies Sam Worthington Says He 'Sold Everything I Owned' and Lived in His Car Before 'Avatar' Stardom The actor said he sold his items because he "didn’t like who I was" in the time before the 2009 blockbuster By Brenton Blanchet Brenton Blanchet Instagram Twitter Writer/Reporter, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on December 15, 2022 04:50 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Jesse Grant/Getty Sam Worthington got rid of everything he owned and lived in a car before landing the lead role in 2009's Avatar. The actor, 46, shared in a new interview with Variety that just before reading for the character of Jake Sully in director James Cameron's sci-fi blockbuster, his life looked a lot different. "I sold everything I owned to my mates because I didn't like who I was," Worthington said, explaining that he auctioned off his items. "I needed to get the heck out. I was living in Sydney, and every time I would go to the bar, people would recognize me. I was rebelling against that." Worthington said he also redecorated his hatchback at the time to fit a mattress inside of it — allowing him to live on the road before he took his talents to Pandora. During his auditions for the movie, the studio would fly Worthington out to Los Angeles. He told Variety he preferred the hotel rooms over sleeping in his car, and that's where he worked closely with Cameron, who eventually decided he was a fit for what would become his breakout role. "It took us several days to reach [Worthington] because he was somewhere on a mountaintop without a phone," producer Jon Landau told Variety. "That's who Sam is." Avatar's Sam Worthington Says His Wife's Ultimatum Led to His Sobriety: 'I Didn't Like Who I Was' Sam Worthington. Greg Williams for Variety Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Elsewhere in the Variety chat, Worthington spoke about his relationship with fame and his lack of privacy because of it. "I'd go haywire over someone asking me for a photograph or taking a photograph of me," said Worthington, who settled an assault case against him over a scuffle with a photographer in New York back in 2014. "If someone approached me, my anxiety would go through the roof." At the time, he began to turn to alcohol more, becoming "emotional and erratic" with each drink. An ultimatum from his wife Lara got him back on track. "I'm not surprised that Sam has mixed feelings about stardom," Kevin Costner, who worked with Worthington on upcoming Western Horizon, told Variety. "In this business, at first you don't think you are ever going to work. Then you get your chance and find success, but what you find is that people don't want to just talk to you about the movies. There's a craving for people to know everything that they can about your politics, your marriage, your personal life." Avatar: The Way of Water is in theaters Friday.