"[Jake Gyllenhaal and Matt Damon] were bandied about," the director told MTV News. "The studio was interested in having a name, I think really just for the part of it we're doing right now, which is, 'How do you sell this movie? What are the handles on this thing that we can sell it to the media somehow or get media attention?' Well, having a name actor gets you on talk shows and all that sort of thing. So there was some value to that idea, and we explored it."
However, he decided it was Sam who best personified the character of Sully.
"Ultimately we kept coming back to Sam," he said. "Sam was the guy who just — he was the guy. Even with the accent and everything. You hear Sam talk and he sounds like Crocodile Dundee — but you hear him in the character and he's utterly and completely the guy."
Audiences seem to agree – as previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, "Avatar" recently overtook "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" as the second-highest grossing film in box office history with $1.14 billion – with no signs of slowing down yet.
And according to Ain't It Cool News, Sam may get another shot at the world of Pandora. A fan in attendance at a Los Angeles "Avatar" screening and Q&A told the site that James said, "Yes, there'll be another," adding that the plan had always been to make a trilogy.
However, a possible "Avatar" sequel isn't the only project on the director's plate. According to Variety, James has optioned the rights to the book "The Last Train To Hiroshima: The Survivors Look Back," which will hit bookstores on January 19. He reportedly met with Tsutomu Yamaguchi, who survived the World War II bombings of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in December during a trip to Japan. Yamaguchi, 93, died on Monday.
Related Content from AccessHollywood.com:
VIEW THE PHOTOS: Australian Bad Boy Sam Worthington
PLAY IT NOW: James Cameron's 'Avatar' Continues To Break Box Office Records
PLAY IT NOW: 'Avatar,' LA Premiere: James Cameron - I Knew Sam Worthington 'Was The Right Guy' To Cast