Nothing like a little controversy to get the ol’ movie blogosphere’s juices flowing…

A few days ago we posted an image of what was supposed to be concept art depicting a lead alien character from James Cameron’s next magnum movie opus: Avatar. It had already been out a few days prior on a number of sites and was originally posted up by a site that covers 3D movies called Marketsaw.com.

The reason we let it simmer a while before posting it is because sometimes images or news items pop up online and before you can say “huh?” it’s all over the place being reported as unofficial but solid. Now we’re not perfect, but here at Screen Rant we try not to report on every little whiff of news that comes out just for that reason. Sure, we post stuff that isn’t “official” but we try to gauge whether or not it is likely to be true.

So, the reason that we carried the story was due to the fact that Marketsaw was contacted by Fox Studios and told to remove the image. That implied the image was legit.


That is usually a pretty damned good indication that whatever you have on your site is actually from the production. We had that happen quite a while back when we broke the concept design art for the armor to be used in Iron Man, and most recently (today, in fact) we removed the most recent images of Batman and the Joker from The Dark Knight per a request from Warner Bros. legal department.

So, we figured the Avatar concept art was legit.

But…

The granddaddy of movie news sites, Ain’t it Cool News contacted James Cameron directly to find out what the real deal was and whether that was in fact a bonafide image from the production. James Cameron replied with an emphatic: No.

“You recently posted some artwork of a supposed Na’vi character. Don’t know where you got it but it’s spurious. I’ve never seen that piece of art. We had a lot of free-ranging conceptual stuff in the early days of design two and a half years ago, and it might be something that was done then but not shown to me, but it is definitely not remotely our actual character design. Aside from two legs, two arms and a tail, it doesn’t have any features in common with our final designs. If I had to guess I’d say it’s a piece of fan art based on the description of the Na’vi from the old treatment which was leaked twelve years ago. That description is obsolete relative to the shooting script, since things have changed a lot over the years.”

Now here’s my opinion: I believe that Jim Dorey, who runs Marketsaw is a legit blogger who happens to have some connection to the movie industry, specifically anything 3D related. He may have been led astray by either a fake or early submission to his site, a knee-jerk legal department telling him to pull the image just because it hinted at being production art, or it’s damage control by Cameron (least likely IMHO).

I actually feel bad for the guy because he’s also the person who says that Peter Jackson is going to do The Hobbit movie and in 3D to boot, and New Line (again via AICN) denied that as well. (I think the jury is still out and that one despite the denial.)

So there’s the summary of the whole thing. It’s tough to walk the line between getting a scoop and verifying info from several sources. Here at Screen Rant, we try very hard to not be a “movie rumor” site. We want to bring you the latest info with some speculation here and there, but not unsubstantiated rumor.

Welcome to the world of movie news. :-)

Source: Ain’t it Cool News