“3D will keep expanding — that toothpaste can’t be put back in the tube now”
“Avatar” is James Cameron’s first film since “Titanic,” though he claims it didn’t actually take him 12 years to make it. More like four and a half, he insists – especially if you count the 3D Titanic exploration documentary “Aliens of the Deep.” Still, he thinks the timing worked out for him, with improved 3D technology and more screens available on which to show it. “Since 2000,” he told TheWrap, “I said ‘I’ve got to do my next feature in 3D,’ but I didn’t know how to do it as the theaters didn’t exist.” So he pulled back and began doing more with the 3D camera development, waiting for the theaters to get there.
This weekend, we see the fruits of that labor.
It’s total bulls—! That’s just fabricated by other people. It’s like “Celebrity Death Match” (laughs) — me and Spielberg duking it out in the ring when we’re actually friends.
I think 3D will keep expanding — that toothpaste can’t be put back in the tube now. It’s more, what level of acceptance will it reach? In the next few years, will most movies be in 3D, or just the big tentpoles? And does it follow sound, where the transition was very fast, or color, where it took 30 years for all movies to be in color?
No, it’s good, as we had to sell a movie that wasn’t sequel or remake or part of a franchise or based on a best-seller. I was more worried about people not even knowing about the film than of them having high expectations and having those dashed.
I do like the big train sets, but funnily enough, in terms of the physical production, this was fairly modest — more on the scale of “Aliens,” my second film. We shot for four months, all interiors, all relatively small sets — no water and sinking ships, so it was modest.
Well, (laughs) I played this joke on everyone just this week. I called Sam Worthington and said, “Listen, I’ve got this great idea for a totally new scene! We can shoot it quickly and I’ll just cut it into the movie” — and he was up for it. He doesn’t want to let go of it.
He brought a groundedness, because of who he is as a person, and that informs his acting which is very honest and very clear. And I think he felt because it’s a fantastic story in a fantastic land, he had to always have this sense of authenticity in every moment. He’d search for it and do it in whatever way he could, and I sensed that about him as an actor when I cast him. And he’s got this great power in his eyes.
It took me a while to convince the studio on Sam, but everyone wanted Zoe right away. Maybe it’s because she grew up on the streets of Queens (laughs) — she’s very poised, very elegant, very well-spoken, but you push her and she’ll go street like that! She’s a cat. She’s fiery and that’s exactly what I was looking for. She showed me that in her audition and I went, that’s it. That coupled with the fact that she was trained as a classical ballet dancer, so she had this amazing physical grace and poise, and I saw these Na’vi characters as very beautiful, very athletic. I wasn’t going for the alien — I was going for something that’s an expression of beautiful human movement.