Jai Courtney's star continues to rise in Terminator Genisys
JAI Courtney is Australia's new strong man in Hollywood.
The Sydney native has starred in some of the biggest action blockbusters of the past three years.
But rather than playing a no-name henchman, Courtney has been front and centre opposite the likes of Bruce Willis, Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe and Aaron Eckhart.
He is also part of the hot young cast of the popular Divergent franchise, playing deadly antagonist Eric.
In his biggest role to date, he takes on the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Courtney plays Kyle Reese in the reboot of James Cameron's sci-fi film franchise.
While filming for director Angelina Jolie's war drama Unbroken, Courtney flew to Los Angeles and back in one weekend to audition for the role.
The 29-year-old counts Terminator 2: Judgment Day as a classic from his childhood and knew the part would be worth the short-term jet lag.
"There are certain moments in Genisys that hark back to the original films and it was really fun seeing them recreate that frame for frame," Courtney told APN.
"We're not recreating the early films but to get those moments and nail them was awesome. When I saw it, I was transported back to seeing those early films for the first time."
One of those key moments for Courtney is when his character Reese is transported back in time on his mission to save Sarah Connor, the mother of future resistance leader John.
Keeping with the original films, Courtney appears in 1984 in a ball of light and lands on the ground stark naked.
He must then try to find clothes while being pursued by a Terminator. But he soon finds Sarah Connor saving him, instead of the other way around.
The film's storyline, designed around an aging Schwarzenegger reprising his famous role, follows Sarah Connor after she is saved by the T-800 Terminator as a child and spends the next decade defending herself and preparing for the arrival of Reese.
"He's playing catch-up the whole time… and she's the one who knows what's going on," Courtney said.
"The challenge for me was to try to not give him too much swagger and confidence. He is a guy who is conditioned for these sorts of encounters, but in a way he's kind of the lost dog at the same time. It was good to play that tension between Sarah and Reese."
Courtney said he grew close to Emilia Clarke, the actress of Game of Thrones' fame who plays Sarah.
"We really became allies on set; we depended on one another," he said.
"It was a tough shoot and a long one. It was really physically demanding.
"There's a really lovely journey to play between those two characters and we were working for months in advance before filming together."
Courtney's first scene in the film with Schwarzenegger is a knockout, literally, for Reese, who mistakenly believes his Terminator to be a threat to Sarah.
"Arnie makes it easy to have fun working with him," he said.
"He still loves what he does so much. All of the action and fights and stunt work we did was great.
"There are certain things they won't let you do, but it was a very physical set that's for sure."
Courtney is building the foundations of his career in Hollywood on physically demanding roles.
He will next star opposite Shia LaBeouf as a former US Marine in the post-apocalyptic thriller
Man Down and is currently filming the highly anticipated comic book adaptation of the Suicide Squad alongside fellow rising Aussie star Margot Robbie.
Terminator Genisys is in cinemas now.