The Spotlight: James Cameron talks 'Avatar' sequels, Kate Winslet's role, shooting underwater and more
Did you suffer from post-Avatar depression back in 2009? Fear not.
In a lengthy sit-down with Vanity Fair director James Cameron says the four planned sequels are more of the same.
"Basically, if you loved the first movie, you’re gonna love these movies, and if you hated it, you’re probably gonna hate these."
Good news for fans, bad news for fans of unpredictable Hollywood chaos.
We *will* see a few major new wrinkles in the addition of Kate Winslet. Oh, and that most of the plot takes place underwater.
Kate Winslet has a role in one of the Avatar sequels, which you’ve said partly take place underwater. Can you tell me about it?
She does, and she’s very excited about it. She blazed through for a couple of days of rehearsals and saw the world that we had created, and how we do the work, and she’s very excited. She plays a character who’s part of the Sea People, the reef people. The one thing she did do is demand that she do all her own water work. I said, “All right, that’s fine, we’ll have to teach you how to free dive.” The other actors are up to three- and four-minute breath holds.
We’ve already been doing underwater capture. We did a scene last week with six teenagers, well, actually five teenagers and one 7-year-old underwater holding their breath for a couple minutes and acting, actually doing a dialogue scene under water because they speak kind of a sign language.
Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang and Sigourney Weaver are all due to return. With filming of "Avatar 2" and "Avatar 3" now underway, Cameron says most of the principal leads already know exactly where they end up in the later films.
With all of the work going into the Avatar sequels there have been some delays in getting started.
I wouldn’t call them delays. It was highly optimistic that we could start quickly until scripts are written. If there’s no scripts, there’s nothing, right? The scripts took four years. You can call that a delay, but it’s not really a delay because from the time we pushed the button to really go make the movies [until now,] we’re clicking along perfectly. We’re doing very well because of all the time that we had to develop the system and the pipeline and all that. We weren’t wasting time, we were putting it into tech development and design. So when all the scripts were approved, everything was designed.
Every character, every creature, every setting. In a funny way it was to the benefit of the film because the design team had more time to work. . . . Most of the actors, the key principals, have all read all four scripts, so they know exactly what their character arcs are, they know where they’re going, they know how to modulate their arc now across the first two films. We all know where we’re supposed to be dramatically in the saga, and that’s great.
Right now the four films have an estimated combined budget of $1 billion. The scripts may already be written, but Cameron isn't counting chickens.
Let’s face it, if Avatar 2 and 3 don’t make enough money, there’s not going to be a 4 and 5. They’re fully encapsulated stories in and of themselves. It builds across the five films to a greater kind of meta narrative, but they’re fully formed films in their own right, unlike, say, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, where you really just had to sort of go, “Oh, shit, all right, well I guess I better come back next year.” Even though that all worked and everybody did.
"Avatar 2" and "Avatar 3" are due to release in 2020 and 2021, respectively, while "Avatar 4" and "Avatar 5" are slated for 2024 and 2025.
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Still losing sleep.
Believe me. I agonize over this. Yes. Joker should have been main bad guy.— David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) November 26, 2017
Clint & I have been blessed to be Rance Howard’s sons. Today he passed at 89. He stood especially tall 4 his ability to balance ambition w/great personal integrity. A depression-era farm boy, his passion for acting changed the course of our family history. We love & miss U Dad.— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) November 25, 2017
Get it together.
Fast and curious.
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