Jon Favreau Calls James Cameron's Avatar 'The Future'

October 29, 2008
Source: Ain't It Cool News

James Cameron and Jon Favreau

Jon Favreau is another filmmaker who has really solidified his place in the cinematic world in directing Iron Man earlier this year. He's returning for Iron Man 2, which is a relief, but looking towards the future, the door is open for so much more. Instead of dwelling on Iron Man 2, though, Quint from Ain't It Cool News talked with Favreau in a recent interview about nearly everything else besides the sequel. And one area I was particularly interested in was his thoughts on James Cameron's Avatar, since he's one of the lucky few who has seen a few finished scenes from the film. "He's trying to present this format in a way where it is a game-changer and in seeing it I think it's the future," Favreau explains.

We've been covering Avatar very closely for the last year, publishing nearly every last interview that Cameron has done. However, we still haven't seen a single photo or anything from the film yet, but Favreau has. "I really liked the bits that I saw and I saw all the various stages of finished [footage], but he's a purist in the way he approaches things, and he's very meticulous." Favreau jumps into explaining how Cameron "likes to put on a big show" and strive for cinematic revolution. "He's really pushing the boundaries on motion capture, he's integrating live action with motion capture and CGI. It takes a painstaking technical approach to that. And he really wants to make it a very visceral, emotional experience."

"He's sort of tireless in how much he invests into it as far as his time and effort. You know, he doesn't make a lot of movies, so a lot of thought and effort goes into each one. And I think that he's trying to present this format in a way where it is a game-changer and in seeing it I think it's the future. I don't think it's a flash in the pan. I think it's going to open up a whole new door and I think more so than the glasses it becomes about how many screens could actually present it in its pristine form."

"The amount of screens is just growing at a very, very fast rate in the States and I think in Europe as well and I think Avatar is going to be the kind of movie that's an event that you have to go see and you want to see again just to understand what you're looking at. And then you still have his very effective storytelling. He really creates an adventure and draws you into it in the hero's journey sense of storytelling, the Joseph Campbell sense of storytelling."

Favreau adds that he has learned a great deal from Cameron in regards to motion capture and CGI and will be using similar techniques in Iron Man 2 because the way he made Avatar is such a technical revolution. "It is a game-changer from a production standpoint certainly in the way he's using motion capture and operating a camera within a volume… the line between animation and live action is blurring in many ways." He adds that even the typical process of filmmaking is changing due to Avatar. "The way that Jim's doing it, it's a much more organic process where post-production, production, and pre-production all sort of roll into one another and you're moving back and forth between those media."

I've been saying Avatar will be the next big cinematic revolution for years now, just because I believe James Cameron has achieved something truly spectacular. I don't think any of us can really grasp what it will be like at this very moment. We'll need to see it to believe it, because we can't even comprehend what it's all about until we get our first glimpse, which is why we haven't seen any photos yet. Hearing Favreau say these kind of things only further solidifies my hope that it will be the next revolution. I just get excited thinking about how amazing Avatar could be and how big of a leap forward it will be for cinema.

Quint's fantastic interview with Favreau also touches briefly on IMAX and why Favreau doesn't think it'll really work for Iron Man 2. He primarily believes that CGI at such a high resolution isn't entirely believable yet and it's a pain to lug around enormous cameras on set. I'm not entirely sure I can take his side, only because The Dark Knight looked so amazing, but it sounds like Iron Man 2 probably won't have any scenes shot in IMAX. Either way, I'm very excited to see Favreau take on Iron Man 2 because it seems like he's really going to push his own filmmaking boundaries even further than the first one. As for Avatar, I know I'm anxiously awaiting our first glimpse at the beautiful world the Cameron has created.

Find more posts: Editorial, Hype, Movie News, Opinions



Avatar truly IS the future. Terminator II, Aliens, True Lies...they aged so well, but this won't wrinkle, not one bit, I'm sure.

m4st4 on Oct 29, 2008


Cameron is GOD!!!! In Cameron we Trust!!!

REAL6 on Oct 29, 2008


funny real 6. lol. this movie is going to make over a billion domestically and internationally

Darrin on Oct 29, 2008


Cameron has a lot of talent, but if it's a full CGI movie then it will be just like all the other full CGI movies; in other words, a cartoon. The only thing that may carry it over the line is if the story is imaginative. All the animation in the world isn't going to carry a film past the first few weeks if the story is weak.

nef deppard on Oct 29, 2008


No, it wont be a cartoon at all... Not even Animation. Read your facts.

REAL6 on Oct 29, 2008


Similar to #4, i just fear a FINAL FANTASY-like attempt at 'revolutionizing cgi in cinema' when the process and production leave the story without as much attention and dedication. One could easily argue good cinema and story excels at its basics of acting and real camera work while CGI is comparatively cheating, but I have no doubt this flick will be a feast. At this point though, he's raised expectations and anticipations for his movie so much, so soon, that this movie could easily fall behind the hype Cameron gives Avatar through the eyes of a mother. Revolutions are rarely a first-try hole-in-one despite existing track records. In the (impossibly unlikely) end, i will laugh my ass off and LOVE it if this movie ended up being a heavy-handed CGI Aquaman, a la Entourage. God, that'd be hilarious if he's been sitting on his ass just to make dupes of us all. . . . .

Voice Of Reason on Oct 29, 2008


The Future? Really? Well it does come out sometime next year... I guess it will be the past when it's finally in theaters.

reaperslogic on Oct 29, 2008


This film has been announced since the beginning as live-action, but I now have concern over the numerous mentionings of his motion-capture techniques and worry that we could be exposed to the Beowulf feel.. and that will do nothing but piss me off. Give me a Lego movie before something that is animation trying to get CLOSE to real for character animation. GRRRRRR.... make it on purpose, either animated characters or live-action... don't care, but pick one. SIDE NOTE:: I will completely retract my thoughts if that motion-capture usage is for special effect, CGI heavy scenes, but if I get another close-up of CGI faces like Beo'puke'wolf I will walk out no matter how 'epic' this is supposed to be.

Dusty on Oct 29, 2008


So Iron Man's CGI isn't good enough for IMAX yet. Dammit, I was looking forward to watching the man of iron in a huge screen. On to Avatar, Favreau did say that the story is pretty good too, so I'm guessing it won't be just an empty visual feast. Even if it is, however, I can see several filmmakers borrowing some of the technology and using it to better their movies, so even IF Avatar is not a good movie, it's most likely to revolutionize the technical aspect of movies in the future. I guess I can live with that.

Alfredo on Oct 29, 2008


i love t1,aliens,t2,true lies and titanic so i cant wait to see avatar,i just hope that avatar is as good as one of those films.ill be there on 12/18/2009.

mike jones. on Oct 29, 2008


I've read the old script from six years ago that leaked on to the net. Man, I tell ya, if James can do half of what he describes in the script, it's going to be one of the greatest Sci-Fi movies ever made. The story is also deep and emtional. Lots of conflict and struggle. Great characters and amazing aliens. Pandora's eco-system alone is incredible. He's done what Lucas did with Star Wars - created a living, breathing universe. I for one think AVATAR will be a life changing experience.

Trent on Oct 29, 2008


Cameron is like the edison of film and film tech. Plus he's a great director and storyteller. I can't wait for Avatar. For some reason I keep thinking Avatar will suddenly make real actors start to think about getting a trade or skill in the actual work place.

JimD on Oct 29, 2008


i thought this movie was going to be seen without glasses at all wtf?

jont on Oct 30, 2008


is Avatar only for 3d screening and not any 2d version? what about dvd or blueray and web teaer trailers of avatar? they will be in 3d too? we can watch only with 3d glasses and we will need 3d plasma tv for watching ?

Babak on Nov 17, 2008


From what I understand, Avatar's production would involve real-time rendering. The interaction between the actor in front of the green screen and the environment will not be tacked on during post production, rather it will be rendered and calculated live. This would allow for much better control during filming and reduce post-production effort. Titanic if I remember correctly was responsible for the popularity of Linux systems as a cheap supercomputing cluster. I hope Avatar breaks new ground in sfx technology.

Arun on Jan 6, 2009


To 12 (JimD) - The technology that Cameron is using will not render actors obsolete. Actors are tracked live on the set and rendered in realtime to allow for a more streamlined production. If anything, there will be more opportunities for actors as this type of production becomes more mainstream.

frameRAID on Mar 24, 2009


It seems Watchmen beat him to the punch with Dr. Manhattan ;who looked quite realistic. Although his clothing in the "getting dressed" scene looked laughably fake. And don't get me started on Babastis!! -Horrendous and embarrassing! i don't understand how you can have a super realistic effect for one thing and then a ridiculously fake looking for another. It boggles the mind. I would think you would want quality all the way through. I'm sure Cameron will deliver all the way through.

Josey Wales on May 30, 2009


---Yeah, over-produced, unoriginal (--entire script ripped off from the equally mediocre Disney 'Pocahantas' ---TRUE ) soft-porn screensaver slop probably if the future. NOT lookin' good America. NOT LOOKIN' GOOD...

real deal on Jan 17, 2010


BTW ---Check Out on YouTube ALAN WATT: Neo-Eugenics and the War Against Humanity ---you'll NEVER see Cameron or Bill Gates the same again ------EVER!!!! --------------WOW

tiger tim on Oct 24, 2010

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