Wednesday, September 19, 2012

James Cameron Bringing China Into The ‘Avatar’ Sequels?

James Cameron has partnered with CPG China, and may be looking into adding Chinese actors to play the Na’vi. First of all, let me start by saying that this really isn’t a post about it being a big deal that Cameron would have Chinese actors play motion capture roles for the Na’vi like many of the other sites reporting this story are saying.

This is really more about how the growing Chinese film market could possibly persuade Cameron to work on the film in China. Whether the actors are Chinese or not doesn’t really matter because they will still look like regular Na’vi on film and still have the native Na’vi accent.

Hit the jump for more details.

This all started when James Cameron's company, founded with Vince Pace, struck a joint venture with CPG China, owned by Tianjin North Film Group and Tianjin Hi-Tech Holding Group. The agreement was just for the group to provide cameras and 3D services for the film.

All the filming for the performance capture in the ‘Avatar’ sequels will still take place in Los Angelas, while the live-action photography and VFX work will take place at Weta Digital in New Zealand, the same studio where ‘The Lord of the Rings’ films were shot. Cameron saw no reason to switch up the routine since it worked so well for the first film, but he did tell The Hollywood Reporter that he saw benefits to possibly doing future work in China.
“Within five years, China could easily be as big a gross-revenue market for film as North America, and there are very specific economic incentives for having both Chinese content and Chinese co-production. We are already funded on Avatar 2 and 3, but if we qualify as a co-production, there might be some incentives in the percentage of revenue we can take out of China.
 "We are running the numbers to see if that makes sense.” At very least, the director could recruit Chinese actors to work in the movies, which will be distributed worldwide by Fox (though Cameron has not set release dates yet). “For Avatar, we can certainly use Chinese actors as performance capture actors because any accent issues will hide within the Na’vi accent,”
He also went on to say:
“So we can have Chinese Na’vi; [and in the live-action sequences] we can also have Chinese actors who speak English in the film.
We are projecting a future in Avatar, and if you project that future out, it is logical that there would be a number of Chinese amongst the contingent on Pandora.”
My thought on all this is simple: if James Cameron thinks it’s a good idea, then it’s probably a good idea. The guy really doesn’t make any mistakes when it comes to making awesome movies, and I highly doubt he’s going to start with the series that he has stated are his most personal films.