Sam Worthington is the star of Avatar, the highest-grossing film in history, but his wife Lara Bingle apparently has a bigger profile with New York’s paparazzi.
In a revealing deposition with Alonso Ceballos, one of three photographers involved in last year’s lower Manhattan street scuffle with the Australian glamour couple, the paparazzos initially didn’t have a clue who Worthington was.
“No idea,” Ceballos replied when the Australian couple’s lawyer, Brian Gibbons, questioned him last week ahead of next week’s civil trial.
Ceballos’ paparazzo colleague Sheng Li is suing Worthington and Bingle for more than $US3.7 million ($A5.2 million), with the civil jury trial scheduled to begin in a Manhattan court next Tuesday.
Li claims he was viciously assaulted by Bingle and Worthington after he, Ceballos and a third photographer, Carl Wu, took photos of the Australian couple on February 23 last year.
Ceballos said he was sitting in a Starbucks in SoHo with Wu when Worthington and Bingle randomly walked past.
“He (Wu) told me, ‘She looks familiar’ and I said, ‘I think so’,” Ceballos said, according to the deposition transcript filed in the case.
Asked if he recognised Worthington, Ceballos replied: “Just her, not him.”
“You knew she was a big deal in Australia?” the lawyer asked.
“Yeah,” Ceballos replied.
He said they grabbed their cameras, jumped on bikes, took photos of the couple as they walked on the street, and called Li to alert him of what they were doing.
Later Li called Ceballos and said: “They’re going to do something to me. I don’t know what.”
“And the next minute, Sam runs to Sheng Li and starts hitting him in the face,” Ceballos said.
Bingle was also “attacking” Li and tried to get his camera, he said.
Worthington and Bingle reject Li’s claimed damages “in their entirety”, and said Li kicked Bingle in the shin.
Photos of Bingle’s shin are expected to be used as evidence by the Australian couple.
Ceballos said he was a bartender and worked in catering before he became a full-time paparazzo.
He earned $US140,000 last year taking photos.
The most he has earned from a single paparazzi shot was $US25,000 for a photo of Victoria’s Secret model Erin Heatherton, who was smoking a cigarette, he said.