People looking forward to James Cameron making films outside of the world of Avatar are going to be very disappointed. The famed Titanic director has announced that he has disbanded the development arm of his production company and wants to focus solely on Avatar-related movies (specifically Avatar 2 & 3). So fans who were hoping to see Cameron finally make Battle Angel, True Lies 2 or even more Aliens and/or Terminator films are going to feel very, very deflated with the news that he intends to stay on Pandora.
Cameron has never been one to play the Hollywood game, and this latest move appears to be a way of giving him the freedom to experiment with technology without having to make any artistic compromises.
Cameron was at the Beijing International Film Festival, where his Oscar-winning Titanic was being screened, when he was asked by The New York Times about his future film projects. The director responded:
“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.”
While it is understandable that Cameron would focus on making sequels to his 2009 smash, it is disheartening that a director of his magnitude is focusing on one set of films, in one specific genre. Of course, he doesn’t see it that way:
“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.”
Cameron has always been a technophile, wanting to push the envelope in regards to how he (and others) can bring movies to the screen. The $2.8 billion global gross of Avatar means that 20th Century Fox will be willing to throw a lot of cash to meet whatever demands Cameron has - something which they might not be so willing to do with an untested property. However, Cameron also wants to keep making documentaries:
“I’ve done five documentaries in the last 10 years, and I’ll hopefully do a lot more. In fact, I’m doing one right now, which is on this, the Deep Sea Challenge project that we just completed the first expedition. So that’ll be a film that’ll get made this year and come out first quarter of next year.”
Fans have been looking forward to seeing Cameron expand the world of Pandora, and we recently heard that the film may not make its planned 2014 release date, and the director seems to support that by stating:
“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.”
While it’s exciting that a filmmaker like James Cameron wants to keep pushing the technical aspects of filmmaking, I feel a bit saddened that he feels the need to focus solely on Avatar. I understand the world of Pandora is an expansive place, and that there are many tales that could be told, but to throw his hands up and say “that’s it” –well, it kind of reminds me of George Lucas deciding that Star Wars was going to the be-all and end-all of his film career.
Many would argue that Cameron’s cinematic oeuvre hasn’t been totally original, as Piranha 2 and Aliens were sequels to other films; Terminator was hit by a lawsuit by Harlan Ellison over for borrowing from his work; True Lies was a remake of the French film La Totale; Titanic is based on an actual event; and even Avatar has drawn comparisons to films like Dances With Wolves. Whatever the charge, it has to be remembered that Cameron is a great director with strong visual sense and a knack for action like few others. It must also be noted that he only states he is not interested in producing for others, meaning that he could still direct non-Avatar films himself, if he feels the urge.
The main cause for alarm is that we might not get another film which teams Cameron with his Terminator and True Lies star Arnold Schwarzenegger – unless Ahnuld books a flight to Pandora. Now that might cause some real excitement.
We'll keep you updated on the status of Avatar 2 in the meantime.
Source: New York Times