Monday, May 7, 2012

James Cameron is in the “Avatar” Business

There are certain directors that when they speak about their films, I generally listen to what they have to say. James Cameron is definitely one of those filmmakers, especially when “Avatar” gets brought up. Luckily, when Cameron sat down to talk with The New York Post, the Avatar series came up, and we were lucky enough to get a couple of updates on the 2nd and 3rd films, and possibly even a 4th.

Now I’ll only highlight the Avatar related quotes in this post, but I did have one quick thought related to the whole article. I never knew how many seemingly non-film related issues Cameron was involved with. I mean, I know how huge he is in the film industry, but just reading this article, he comes across as someone who is so much more important than just being a great director.

For the full article, click on the link above, or hit the jump for the Avatar related bits.

Cameron was asked what scripts he is currently looking at, or current projects he is working on besides Avatar; this is what he had to say:
“That’s interesting. I’ve divided my time over the last 16 years over deep ocean exploration and filmmaking. I’ve made two movies in 16 years, and I’ve done eight expeditions. Last year I basically completely disbanded my production company’s development arm. So I’m not interested in developing anything. I’m in the “Avatar” business. Period. That’s it. I’m making “Avatar 2,” “Avatar 3,” maybe “Avatar 4,” and I’m not going to produce other people’s movies for them. I’m not interested in taking scripts. And that all sounds I suppose a little bit restricted, but the point is I think within the “Avatar” landscape I can say everything I need to say that I think needs to be said, in terms of the state of the world and what I think we need to be doing about it. And doing it in an entertaining way. And anything I can’t say in that area, I want to say through documentaries, which I’m continuing. I’ve done five documentaries in the last 10 years, and I’ll hopefully do a lot more. In fact, I’m doing one right now, which is on this, the Deep Sea Challenge project that we just completed the first expedition. So that'll be a film that’ll get made this year and come out first quarter of next year.”
Cameron also gave an update on the progress of the “Avatar 2” (2013) and “Avatar 3” (2014), which are being shot back-to-back:
“We’ve spent the last year and a half on software development and pipeline development. The virtual production methodology was extremely prototypical on the first film. As then, no one had ever done it before and we didn’t even know for two and half years into it and $100 million into it if it was going to work. So we just wanted to make our lives a whole lot easier so that we can spend a little more of our brainpower on creativity. It was a very, very uphill battle on the first film. So we’ve been mostly working on the tool set, the production pipeline, setting up the new stages in Los Angeles, setting up the new visual effects pipeline in New Zealand, that sort of thing. And, by the way, writing. We haven’t gotten to the design stage yet. That’ll be the next.”
As one of the many people who LOVED “Avatar”, it’s awesome hearing how involved he is with this franchise. It’s pretty common knowledge of how personal of a project the first “Avatar” film was, but like many filmmakers you had to wonder if his heart would be in the second and third films as much as it was for the first one. Well, when I heard that it would be four years until the second film came out, that definitely showed me that he wasn’t going to rush these films. Take that, couple it with the comments above, and I think any doubts about whether he is putting as much into the sequels as the first film are pretty much put to rest. Now we just have to wait until the first footage is released, then finally, the actual movie. I don’t know if I'll choose to watch any footage of the film before it’s released - which is an extremely difficult task with movies that popular by the way - but I have every bit of faith that the two sequels will not disappoint.