But I don’t like all that, I didn’t get into this to have my photo taken.

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In the first week of rehearsal Worthington was friendly, and they socialised together.

But he was struggling to get into the role, so in the second week he was distant – so distant that he stopped turning up for rehearsals.

“I think I’m still a very difficult person to live with, because my motor’s always running, but you try as you get older to slow that down and live life at a calmer pace.

My lifestyle is extremely weird, so if you can be with a girl and have a level of normalcy, then travelling around the world doing this kind of thing seems like a holiday adventure.” Even James Cameron – a director whose exacting standards have driven other actors to the edge of insanity – was impressed with his leading man’s Spartan lifestyle and Herculean work ethic on Avatar, which involved gruelling 18-hour days for 14 months.

No wonder he’s frequently compared to another actor, Russell Crowe.

“If you want to, you can roll around with a big old entourage, you can think the sun shines out of you,” he says. No, he’s at home changing nappies.” Some facets of Worthington’s life have inevitably altered.

“When I’m 60 maybe I’ll settle down,” he told me, also admitting that relationships were difficult because of his intense approach to work. Together with his girlfriend at the time, Natalie Mark, he moved gipsy-like from hotel room to hotel room, depending on the film role. Recently, however, he bought a house in Hawaii (hence the T-shirt). I got a dog – a King Charles spaniel called Bacon that I got in England – so the dog needed a home.” Worthington sprawls on the sofa and laughs. And NO I’m not going to tell you which island.” I point out that it doesn’t take much detective work to figure it out, since his T-shirt advertises kayaking on a particular island. He tells me that he has a new girlfriend, although he won’t divulge her name and says she is not an actress.

“She hangs out with me, she doesn’t need a job,” he grins, adding he is learning to separate work from his home life.

“They were normal working-class people, my dad worked in a power plant, my mum used to clean people’s houses and she looked after old people.” There were no thoughts of acting.

It was his father who persuaded Worthington to leave Perth at 18 and travel around Australia.

A few weeks before James Cameron’s sci-fi epic Avatar hit cinemas and became the most successful film of all time, I interviewed the film’s star Sam Worthington, at that time unknown.