James Cameron Says He's Not Doing Much Besides 'Avatar' 2, 3 & 4
Well, there you go, there is definitely a lot of Avatar on the way, between movies and theme parks. While speaking with the NY Times Media Decoder blog with Edward Wong (via BleedingCool), James Cameron, master filmmaker and deep sea explorer, straight up revealed that his future line-up consists of pretty much Avatar, some documentaries, exploring the ocean/world, and that's about it - nothing more in film. Wait, what? Can it be? No more del Toro's At the Mountains of Madness or anything else? Cameron gives some rather interesting quotes in the NY Times Q&A, a few that make me concerned for his future. Discuss below!
It's been known that Cameron is of course lining up both Avatar 2 and 3 sequels as his next projects, but they're still a very long ways out. He comments on their development so far: "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… We just wanted to make our lives a whole lot easier so that we can spend a little more of our brainpower on creativity… We haven't gotten to the design stage yet. That'll be the next." Now that he's dived deeper than any one else in the world to unheard of depths of the ocean, he seems really inspired to conquer both the cinematic and deep sea worlds for the rest of his life. Cameron explains:
"I've divided my time over the last 16 years over deep ocean exploration and filmmaking. 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. 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."
And there you go. But that seems rather bleak and straightforward, which is a bit unfortunate for the guy with everything from At the Mountains of Madness to Battle Angel and that Cirque du Soleil 3D movie in the works. Are all of these dead? (I doubt it.) Is there any hope for them, down the line? Will Cameron ever make anything else besides Avatar again? He doesn't answer those question specifically, but Bleeding Cool also got separate quotes from Cameron as early as a few weeks ago, and he still seemed confident. "[Writer Laeta Kalogridis and I are] good collaborators. She had written the Battle Angel script and we work really well together. If I go shoot Battle Angel I'll be shooting the script she wrote." But when will that ever be?
As for the Avatar sequels, we'll continue to keep an eye on them, but it still sounds like they're years away. "Most of the work that's being done right now is foundational. It's rewriting the code and building the software tools, it's not the creative work with the cast. That doesn't start until later this year," Cameron says. It sounds like they will indeed explore the oceans, re-energized by Cameron's recent dive, I'm sure. Producer Jon Landau confirms: "We will continue to follow Jake. It will be Jake and Neytiri together but there will be other characters that come in, both on the good side and the bad side. We will explore parts of the world you haven't seen before. It's fun and exciting." They're already trying to develop "a way to do performance capture underwater right now," since the sequels will feature a lot of underwater scenes. Exciting, indeed.
For more on Cameron, read the full NY Times interview, which covers a few other topics besides Avatar, mostly his involvement with Chinese producers and censorship. Always intrigued to hear what he has to say.