Video:Avatar James Cameron Interviewwith Rebecca Murray
James Cameron has been dreaming about bringing 'Avatar' to life on the big screen for 15 years, but he had to wait until technology caught up with his idea for the story. At the LA premiere, Cameron talked about making 'Avatar' a reality.See Transcript
Transcript:Avatar James Cameron InterviewRebecca Murray from About.com Hollywood Movies at the LA Premiere of 20th Century Fox's Avatar.
Avatar Writer/Producer/Director James CameronWhy did it take 15 years for you to make this movie?
James Cameron: "Well, it's not like I was sitting there watching Jeopardy and buffing my nails for 15 years. You know, first of all, I wrote this in 1995. It was right before I made Titanic, and so this was going to be the film I did after Titanic. But then when I did Titanic, I fell in love with the whole process of deep ocean expeditions and I went on six expeditions after I made the Titanic film, the last one was in 2005. And in fact, the second I finished that last expedition I started on Avatar. And you know I was sort of developing the 3-D camera technology with Vince Pace, my technology partner in this camera project, and that's what we used in Avatar to shoot with. So it all, for me, it's right on schedule. And now we have about 7,600 3-D screens, beautiful digital screens worldwide, so now there's a place to play the movie. That didn't exist two or three years ago, so I think the timing couldn't be better actually."
The 3-D world that you created doesn't come out at you, and instead you go into it. How did you do that?
James Cameron: "Right. It's a stylistic choice to not bombard the audience with reminders that you're watching a 3-D movie. And so a little bit of amnesia sets in that you're wearing these glasses and yet the 3-D of it is not so mild that it doesn't have a constant affect on you, constantly sort of drawing you into the story, putting you into the place, wrapping you into the world. And of course this is the perfect type of film for that because of all the production design that was done by the design team, all the cool creatures. It was trying to fit the style of the 3-D to the story, and not have it be intrusive."
Is this your dream project?
James Cameron: "This has been our dream project for a long time. We bided our time before we started on it so that we didn't stumble and fall on our face. And even so it was very difficult even though we waited. I waited 10 years to start it and it's been four and a half years to make, which is twice the length of time it took to make Titanic. So I'm ready for a rest but I can't complain at all because it was such a joyful process to make this film."
Did you always think about Sigourney Weaver?
James Cameron: "Actually, when I wrote it I wasn't necessarily thinking of Sigourney Weaver. I wasn't excluding her, I just wasn't thinking of it. There was a moment when I started casting the film and I was looking at other women to possibly play Grace Augustine and I just went back to the Sigourney idea. And I thought, 'You know what? It doesn't matter that we did another science fiction film together. She's such a strong actress, she's perfect for this part. Why wouldn't I cast her?' And then I got all excited about the idea and I called her up and sent her the script, and of course she jumped onboard because she's a very smart lady. She got the themes, the environmental themes of it, and she actually thought that it was a very worthwhile project, quite separately from it being a good character for her to play."
Have you pushed filmmaking as far as it can go?
James Cameron: "Look, there are plenty of new horizons, plenty of new ideas for improving the technology of filmmaking and I hope that's true for as long as I'm making films, whatever that is. But this one was probably the biggest quantum leap of any movie that I worked on because we had to come up with the process, and that process would then be used to make 2,500 shots in this movie. It wasn't like Terminator 2 where it was only used for a few shots, or The Abyss where it was only used for like 15 shots. We're talking about over 2,000 shots so it had to work, it had to be seamless, and it didn't exist exactly the way we needed it to. So the first two years of working on this four and a half year project were technology development and design. The design was done in parallel with that, so that means a big team of artists creating all the landscapes and the creatures and the plants, everything that you see in this rich world of Pandora."
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