Cameron Talks About 3D, AVATAR Sequels, CLEOPATRA, and the TRUE LIES Series
While James Cameron was promoting the November 16th release of the Avatar extended edition Blu-ray set; he took some time to discuss his future projects.
It seems that the first priority on Cameron's list are the Avatar sequels. It looks as though he is planning on making two sequels and filming them back-to-back.
"Our plan right now is to do two and three as a single large production and release them a year apart," Cameron said, "In order to do that, we have to refine our technical processes beyond the end of where we were finishing 'Avatar' one a year ago. We need to future-proof ourselves out five or six years to the end of the third film."
Not only is he delivering an extended edition Blu-ray but he's also working on his Avatar novel which although it will simultaneously end where the film ends it will feature a lot of back story for the events that took place on Pandora.
"The novel's a big project. It's not a novelization... I asked myself, 'If this had been based on a book, what would that book have been?' It ends conterminously with the end of the movie. I'm not going to give you one frame beyond that. But how about the 30 years before Jake came to Pandora? The discovery of the planet? Grace's arrival there? All the back story and the history of Earth. All the context and then everything lateral to what you see in the movie. Whether it's things that are happening off-camera or things that are happening inside the characters' heads."
Cameron goes on to talk about his involvement with Sony to make the film Cleopatra which would star Angelina Jolie as the infamous Egyptian Queen. "It sounds hot, doesn’t it? I mean, Angelina Jolie and Cleopatra? To me, that’s like a slam dunk," he said. "Whether I wind up doing it or not, I think it’s going to be a great project."
But he goes on to say, "I haven't made any decisions about that, but here's a decision: I'm not going to work on a film between ['Avatar'] two and three. It's really a question of whether or not I do one between now and when we start two. We're evaluating how much of our tech work and how much of our facility work it's going to take. That's not decided as of right now. I'd love to just start on 'Avatar 2' right now, but I don't know if that's possible or if it makes sense to wait."
It was reported last month that Cameron's True Lies film which, starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis, was being adapted into a television series. Cameron is listed as a producers for the planned ABC series but it looks as though his involvement will be limited, "I'm not really doing that," Cameron said, "That was initiated by others. Friends of mine who wanted to do that. I said, 'Yes, go with God. Do 'True Lies.' But do I have to show up to do anything?' They said, 'Absolutely not.'"
A re-release for Titanic in 3D is on the horizon for 2012 as well. Cameron is using a few different companies to ensure quality and meet the important deadline that he has set.
“Titanic” has been out of theaters for, what, 12 years now? We’re going to bring it out in 3-D as a theatrical re-release on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic in 2012. It’s an arbitrary length of time but it’s a specific date –- it’s a specific date that means something to people. There will be a lot of talk about the Titanic disaster in the news, and the nonfiction TV sector at that time.
We’re in the early stages of that process. We’ve been moving very slowly to make sure that we do it right, and we’ve basically gone to every single vendor who does 3-D conversion, that’s a credible vendor, and there were seven that we have received tests from. We’ve analyzed the tests, in a couple of cases we sent them back and told them to remake parts of it, because it was unacceptable, and now we’re baking off the different vendors against each other and we’re going to choose the top two or three vendors and we’re going to split the show up between them.
The director has become the unofficial spokesman for 3D as it enters a new era. Fans have pushed back on shoddy conversions in order to garner an extra $3-$5 in ticket prices.
There were a number of 3-D films that were being very successful over a period of three years or so, but “Avatar” was the moment that the wave crested, if you will. After that it was undeniable that 3-D was going to be lucrative and it was here to stay, and it wasn’t a gimmick and all those things. And I think there was a rush, a gold rush, and some mistakes were made and some bad 3-D reached the marketplace. And then there was a little pushback from the audience, that we don’t want to pay extra for something that’s not a great experience. And I think that the studios have been somewhat chastened by that, and they’re now attempting to do 3-D at a higher quality.
We’re seeing now that the studios are swinging away from the hasty conversions. Of course, Warner Brothers just got smacked by not being able to get “Harry Potter” done in time. I’d been on record for years that you can’t do conversion as part of a post-production process on a big movie, because no one is willing to insert the two or three or four months necessary to doing it well. They’ve got the cost of the interest clock running on a $150 million negative. That’s $5, $10 million right there, the interest costs of delaying a release. And of course, they don’t even factor it in when they push the button and green-light a movie. It’s already based on a release date they think they can make, based on everything they know. You can’t suddenly open up that post schedule by four months, to do 3-D right. So finally somebody got burned, which is Warners, and they’d already partially got burned on “Clash of the Titans.” So now the word is out there that the conversion companies have been low-balling their bids to get a foothold in the market, because they’re all start-ups.