updated 05/27/2009 AT 4:00 PM ET
•originally published 05/28/2009 AT 6:45 AM ET
He may be new to moviegoers in this country, but the 32-year-old Australian hunk who plays opposite Christian Bale’s in Terminator Salvation has been a mainstay in movies and TV in his home country for the last decade.
Now, Worthington is following in the footsteps of Mel Gibson, Hugh Jackman, and Russell Crowe (“My favorite actor, no question,” he says) as the latest hottie from Down Under to become an American action hero. So, is he ready for it? “I don’t think that anyone can really be prepared,” Worthington tells PEOPLE. “I think you’d be silly.”
Here are five things to know about Hollywood’s hottest cyborg.
Before he was an action star, he was a bricklayer: “I built houses,” says Worthington, whose life changed course when he followed a girl to the same drama school that Mel Gibson and Cate Blanchett attended. “I never had any intention of being an actor,” he says.
He’s not mad at you – he’s just extremely nearsighted: “People think that I squint because I’m angry all the time,” he says. “It’s just that I can’t f—— see.”
He is an Arnold Schwarzenegger fan: “I’m hoping to meet him,” he says of the Terminator actor-turned-politician. “Is that going to be possible? I watched Pumping Iron a couple of weeks ago and loved it. He’s extremely charismatic.”
Terminator Salvation is not the biggest movie he has this year: Worthington also stars in Avatar, a special-effects extravaganza from original Terminator director James Cameron, who cast the relatively unknown Aussie to star in his estimated $190 million opus. “He kept pushing back like you wouldn’t believe against a studio who didn’t know who the hell I was and thought that he was crazy,” says Worthington. “That guy changed my life. It’s simple as that.”
His newfound success hasn’t gone to his head – or his closet: “I still have the same clothes I had from way back when,” he says. “My mates go, ‘Don’t you buy clothes, you bum?’ ”