Cameron on Producing His Underwater 3D Drama 'Sanctum'

March 3, 2010
Source: Brisbane Times

Sanctum Photo: Director Alister Grierson, James Cameron, Producer Andrew Wright

Although you may think that James Cameron is settling down and taking time off after finishing his 10 year journey on Avatar, that's not the case. In fact, Cameron is already preparing a new underwater 3-D drama called Sanctum, which you may have heard about. Not only is it a more intimate and much smaller project than Avatar, but it's Cameron's chance to prove that 3-D can be used well in movies that aren't big blockbusters (but hopefully not for films like Precious). Cameron traveled down to Australia's Gold Coast recently and the Brisbane Times (via MarketSaw) published an update with some quotes from Cameron.

The reason Cameron is down in Australia (which is where that photo comes from) is because that's where they're going to be shooting soon. Sanctum is being directed by Australian filmmaker and Tropfest winner Alister Grierson and features an Aussie cast including: Rhys Wakefield (7's "Home and Away"), Allison Cratchley (7's "All Saints"), Richard Roxburgh (Van Helsing), Alice Parkinson (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and Daniel Wyllie (Animal Kingdom). The story involves a father and son who experience a life-threatening crises during an expedition to the unexplored and least accessible cave system in the world. Sounds intense.

Sanctum is inspired by a real experience that producer Andrew Wight went through, where he ended up trapped with 14 other people in a cave system for two days. "It's really a character driven piece and the 3-D should only be part of enhancing the experience," Cameron says. That sounds perfect and I hope other filmmakers can learn to also adopt that philosophy. "As a director myself I know how I like to be treated," he says, before explaining how he's not that heavily involved in this. "So I'm like a fairy godmother sort of producer - I just add the money and stand back. I'm here like the salesman - I'm selling you a new BMW."

I expect we'll hear a lot more about Sanctum once it starts shooting, so stay tuned. "3-D works best in a very claustrophobic environment where you really feel finitely that the walls are only a few feet away," Cameron explains. "I think people are going to be [find themselves] with accelerated heart rates, tight breathing and white knuckles when they go [through] the experiences of this film." I'm already sold! What about you?

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Not Sold.

People's Champ on Mar 3, 2010


3D is the way of the future, internet users seems more backstriving and conservative than anyone else these days.

Loser on Mar 3, 2010


whatever happened to that movie about the female robot that survives after a war or something. Alita? I can't remember the name. I thought that was the next project he was doing. I wanted to see that.

jake the snake on Mar 3, 2010


#2 go away. 3-D is the death of cinema.

Xerxex on Mar 3, 2010


I agree that 3-D needs to go away. If done right it's okay but converted after the movie is shot is just stupid and greedy.

jake the snake on Mar 3, 2010


THE WAY OF THE FUTURE, It will be interesting to see the likes of Scorsese, Aronofsky, Mann and other high end directors use 3D and see how it works for masters of the craft.

Loser on Mar 3, 2010


Its a simple fact loser...your wrong, 3-d is the gimmicky death of cinema. I mean the way of the future are you fucking kidding me? Whats sad is because of people like you it might actually be "the way of the future" cause you keep giving the 3-d crapfests more money and making studios think there actually good. Trust me go on any 3-d related thread on here and the majority says "Fuck 3-d". If only hollywood would listen to people who actually care about movies and not the masses who wants boobs, explosions and O yes boobs and explosions popping out at you.

Cody on Mar 3, 2010


Cody, I understand what you are saying but from my perspective it will be interesting to see what master directors can do with it, those crappy blockbusters will be as crappy tomorrow as they were yesterday. 3D aint gonna change that. I really believe that 3D can and will be the way af the future when it`s used right. People are talking about content of the story and so on but big budget movies are always lacking in content or almost always. The future will be great filmmakers using 3D to enhance the story and movies, crapfest movies using the gimmick of 3D to make money are always something that happens when new things comes along.

Loser on Mar 3, 2010


Just imagine A movie like the good the bad and the ugly in 3D. Not the gimmicky things coming out the screen but the depths of the plains, desert and how it would look in Leones type of filmmaking. The final scenes of that movie given the 3d depth could have been even more amazing than it already is if done right

Loser on Mar 3, 2010


Hmmm yes, youve got me there the catch of the whole thing is "Great filmmakers using 3-d to enhance the story"....people are using Camerons fame and slapping 3-d on an already produced film, and I see that ALOT (and I mean ALOT) more than films being originally made in 3-d. Im all for films being made and brought up with 3-d in mind the whole time, its the movies that slap 3-d on it (clash of the titans) just so they can cash in Avatar fame. That whole good bad and the ugly example was really good though cause that would be totally sweet. But directors like Scorsese saying 'precious' would be good in 3-d lessens my hope for the whole idea.

Cody on Mar 3, 2010


all in all if 3-D was to go away I'd do a mother fucking backflip.

Xerxex on Mar 4, 2010


great movies have been made for decades upon decades all the way back to black and white classics. 3D is NOT necessary - it's just a new "hook" to try make more money on average films by adding "3D" to it. cameron can keep his BMW - right now this movie doesn't stand out to me in the least.

beavis on Mar 4, 2010


Sanctum sounds intresting, What is thought James Cameron want's to be known has the 3D king it get's abit boaring.

Cineprog on Mar 4, 2010


I'm not supporting either way, but i will say that we don't know what is the right way with 3D. When color came out they SWORE it was only good for comedies and musicals ... We swear 3D is only good for kids films/horror films ... Who knows. Some might argue well real life is in color it's also in 3D.

JP on Mar 4, 2010


"I just add the money and stand back. I'm here like the salesman" ...and then boot them off the film if it's not looking like turning out exactly how he wanted

Smiley on Mar 4, 2010


#4 - I agree. It's cool that Cameron is getting involved in an Aussie project, hopefully the film do well here, I will see it 2D.

DiR3cT on Mar 4, 2010


I plan never to see another 3D movie again. I'm completely sick of it. Not sold on this in any way.

FancyMonocle on Mar 4, 2010


Hells yea...I love 3D, and hopefully when it's the norm we'll stop having to hear people bitch about it in the comments of every single blog post. Can we please stop so that I can read the comments and not have to see the same people complaining about 3D all the time?

peloquin on Mar 4, 2010


#18 AGREED! The complainers can go back to their black and white silent films.

Jim Dorey on Mar 4, 2010


#9 - I agree. The shots I like best in Avatar were the simple shots. There's one where the movie watcher is looking through a door window a Susan Sarandon. I thought it was awesome. In the future, 3D won't be able to cover up a shit story like Avatar. As a few commenters have already pointed out, the movies have to be shot in 3D, none of this conversion nonsense.

josef on Mar 4, 2010


Susan Sarandon? LOL

BrentD on Mar 4, 2010


Susan Sarandon... in Avatar? Or I didn't get?

FlaWiio on Mar 4, 2010


peloquin and Jim Dorey we will never stop are bitching, as long as 3-D is in film I will blast Muse's "Micro Cuts" and continue bashing 3-D.

Xerxex on Mar 4, 2010


Heh, alright Xerx, that one made me laugh...As long as you continue to be creative in your bashing of 3D I will continue to follow your comments :o) I just saw Avatar again this week and I love that shot right at the very beginning when Jake's first coming out of his cryo chamber and there's a white smudge in the middle of the picture which you think is due to a faulty projector initially. Then the camera brings the smudge into focus and we're introduced to the magnificent beauty of 3D for the first time in the form of a speck of dust floating past Jake's face. At that moment I knew 3D was the future of cinema. Not to mention that 3D is a tool and it's up to the film maker to use it the right way (shooting in 3D), or the wrong way (converting to 3D). You can't blame Hollywood as some kind of evil entity who's forcing the artist's hands; you need to trust your favorite film makers to use this new technology to enhance your experience. I really doubt that the film makers I've looked up to my whole life will use 3D for the sole purpose of making more money off of me. They will consider it their responsibility to use this tool to show the audience unique ways of portraying their artwork, and I have faith in my beloved film makers to tell the studios to fuck off when they try to force 3D just to make more money.

peloquin on Mar 4, 2010


they are releasing those high def 3D tv's soon... so maybe its not a fad after all and I'm just sick of James Camron. i need a break from him. he needs to go away for another 10 years then come back and blow my mind.

DoomCanoe on Mar 4, 2010


Why does 3D have to be either the death-knell for cinema or the revolutionary future? WHy can't it just exist somewhere in between? I have to admit that 3D doesn't really seem to have a narrative purpose right now, but in the hands of a good director who is using the tools they have to create something interesting, 3D can be quite useful. The thing is that there's no way to get the effect in homes. This is both a blessing for theaters and a burden for studios. Think about this: in the 50's, if they were going to show The Wizard Of Oz on TV, no one would have seen the color. Would that have vastly altered the movie? Probably. Imagine something like Schindler's List being shown on a B&W TV. You'd miss several elements because they were specifically colorized so you'd notice them. The little girl in the red coat would just fade into the background noise. In a 3D film, if you were to actually use 3D to it's strengths and use it in such a way that prevented people from getting the same experience on their TV set, what would happen? Would people still buy it in 2D? I've played around with some story ideas in an attempt to make the 3D element relevant to the plot, and it's absolutely possible. But after a theatrical run, no one would be able to see the damn thing properly on any home format unless they had dropped the cash on a 3D setup. Honestly, it's not like 3D is killing anything. You can watch the fucking movies in 2D, and you get to watch them on DVD in 2D. Go buy the 2D shit if you don't like 3D. No one's forcing you do watch it that way. While you're at it, you can buy a B&W TV and turn the sound off as well. Cause sound and color are just gimmicks, you know. You don't really NEED them to tell a story. I think it's nice to see filmmakers looking at 3D as something OTHER THAN a gimmick. That's all it was back in the 50's and that's all it was in the 80's, but this time they're finally making 3D films that aren't just throwing crap at the screen every five minutes. I'm all for seeing what kind of interesting compositions you can come up with when you have depth to work with as an added dimention to a typical 2D composition.

Squiggly_P on Mar 4, 2010


to all the people saying they dont like 3D, that its a fad OR that 3D is the "future", you're all right and wrong at the same time. Current 3D is the step into technological advancement we need to make in order to achieve a mainstream holographic display (yes in 3D, but volumetrically projected in our space). Basically 3D now is like "baby" holograms. 3D isnt the future, its the present. Yes it is a fad (a necessary one), but its here to stay until further progression is made within the next 10 to 15 years. Enjoy it or dont, we still have a ways to go...

buggy166 on Mar 4, 2010


One of the characters are named after me, I'm stoked 🙂

James on Apr 13, 2010


I'm just excited that one of the characters are named after me. 🙂

James Hurley on Apr 13, 2010

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