Remember that “Battle Angel” movie James Cameron was making noise about possibly doing one of these days? Well, if Cameron sticks to his guns, “Battle Angel” is no longer a viable option, and it’s all “Avatar”, all the time now for the filmmaker.
Speaking to the New York Times over the weekend, Cameron talked about expanding his empire into broadcast technology, working with/and in China, and what his film aspirations going forward are. In a word: “Avatar”.
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.
And where does production on “Avatar 2” stand now? The film is, after all, scheduled for 2014:
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.
So, 2015, then?
In case you’ve forgotten, “Avatar” is currently the biggest box office earner of all time, so I guess it makes some kind of sense that Cameron would be spending the rest of his filmmaking career on it, choosing to explore all this pet themes through such an already popular format instead of developing new vehicles. But as record-breaking and groundbreaking as “Avatar” is, it’s too bad we won’t be getting something different from the man.
Of course, he could always change his mind in a few years once he’s gotten the “Avatar” bug out of his system. Filmmaker have been known to make grand statements about their careers, only to quietly go back on them (see: Steven Soderberg’s “retirement” announcement, or George Lucas saying he’ll stop making movies completely because of fan backlash).