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James Cameron is Done With All Movies Not Called ‘Avatar’

James Cameron Avatar Sequels

The New York Times has published a terrific interview with forward-thinking filmmaker James Cameron, who spoke with him at the Beijing International Film Festival. Some may find his thoughts on international 3D markets and the Chinese film industry fascinating. Others may be more interested in his suggestion that he will no longer make any films not set in the ‘Avatar‘ universe. The whole interview is worth your time, but check out some highlights below.

On the subject of what’s next for him, Cameron had a surprising revelation, particularly for anyone who thought he long-gestating ‘Battle Angel‘ was coming soon:

“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.”

So, no ‘Battle Angel,’ even though he was still talking about it a few weeks ago? No more acting as a producer on the in-development remake of ‘Fantastic Voyage’? Granted, when you’re as successful as Cameron, you can do whatever the heck you want. Apparently, that means he’ll using the world of ‘Avatar’ as a mouthpiece for his various real-world passions. Later in the interview, Cameron mentions that he’s also planning a a few more documentaries centered around deep sea exploration, which is, you know, kind of his thing.

As for the status of ‘Avatar 2,’ Cameron dropped this mound of techno-babble:

“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.”

The short translation: there’s no script and no actual designs, only updated software that will make the actual production of the film significantly easier.

The interview also delved into the future of Hollywood’s relationship with international audiences, particularly China, which Cameron believes will be a more important market than the United States by the time a third ‘Avatar’ movie comes out. Thinking ahead, Cameron said he would consider making an ‘Avatar’ sequel a co-production with China and wasn’t worried about China’s infamous censorship laws:

“As an artist, I’m always against censorship. But censorship’s a reality, even in the U.S. We have a form of it there. We used to have the Hays commission. We now have the M.P.A.A. ratings system, which is basically a self-censorship process that prevents government from doing it. But the economic imperatives are that if you get an R rating, the studio won’t make a film that looks like it’s headed toward an R rating, and if you get a R you’ve got to cut it yourself to comply with PG-13. So it’s really just a form of censorship indirectly.”

What do you think, film fans? Are you happy with Cameron essentially retiring to a Pandora playground for the rest of his career?

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