Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Returning to Pandora is now a sure thing, according to James Cameron. The colourful Canadian-born filmmaker plans to direct two Avatar sequels himself, he said this week at his Hollywood studio. "It's in progress right now," Cameron said. "I mean, there's a lot of writing, a lot of designing, a lot of tech work that we're going to do. What I can tell you is this: Our plan right now is to make II and III together as a single large production, and release them a year apart."But the process might take five or six years.
"There shouldn't be any surprise there," he said, mocking himself. While perfecting new Avatar technology, he might make another movie first, Cameron explained during presentations to promote the Nov. 16 release of the Extended Collector's Edition of the original Avatar on Blu-ray.
Meanwhile, Cameron is writing an Avatar novel, with 30 years of back story. He also is deeply involved with eco-activist causes that solicited him after the phenomenal success of Avatar, which is driven by an environmental theme. His focus includes fighting the Alberta tar sands development, which Cameron says is "poisoning" First Nations people and creating "cancer clusters" in communities downstream from the massive oil extraction projects.
THE SEQUELS: Cameron says he wants to make sure that breakthrough technology that turned Avatar into a spectacle is now pushed forward. "We need to future-proof ourselves out five, six years to the end of the third film. So we're taking the time now."
His team is "tooling up a new facility" near his current studio just for the sequels. "It's permanent in the sense that it's designed to span two Avatar films. We're laying all the foundation work right now. Nothing is holding us back." But digital technology moves quickly, and Cameron says Avatar convinced him "there are a lot of things we knew we needed to do better." The goal, he says, is to ensure "we're not obsolete when we make the last movie."
James Cameron's thoughts on Sigourney Weaver's character returning for Avatar sequels, despite her apparent death in the first film...
"Who said she died?" Cameron teased with a big grin, "Nobody dies in a science fiction movie. Whether Grace lives or dies depends more on Sigourney's agent than anything.
THE NOVEL: "The novel is a big project. My idea for the novel is not a novelization -- which I hate -- where you basically just take the script and put it into prose form, and add a few extra adjectives. What I really want to do is say: 'OK, if this movie were based on a book, what would that book have been?' "
Cameron is already deep into it. The novel will end like the first movie. "I don't give you one frame beyond that. But how about the 30 years before Jake gets to Pandora?"
THE ECO-ACTIVISM: Cameron says he remains committed to select causes among hundreds he has been approached about. "We've had to be selective because we can't get involved in every single cause everywhere. Even if I devoted the rest of my life to it, we can't do everything."
He intensely researches each cause he does support, including fighting the Alberta tar sands project. The goal there is to get the Alberta government and the oil companies to mitigate the effects of pollution, Cameron says.
"It's not me," he said of his influence. "A year ago I couldn't have stood up and done all that stuff -- and nobody would have asked me to. It's really that the movie has created this kind of global consciousness around this idea that we have to do something about our relationship with nature. I'm also not, by the way, delusional that a movie can change the world. But I do believe that, if you put a foot in the right direction and then you follow up ... But I can't wait until I make another Avatar movie (to act). There are too many important things that are happening right now."
(via Toronto Sun: http://www.torontosun.com/entertainment/movies/2010/10/22/15791561.html)