James Cameron took a break from filming his highly-anticipated Avatar sequels to promote his upcoming series AMC Visionaries: James Cameron's Story Of Science Fiction, and he has shared some new details about these sequels. Filming is currently under way on both Avatar 2 and Avatar 3, which are shooting concurrently at Manhattan Beach Studios, with the filmmaker comparing these sequels to the iconic Godfather trilogy. Here's what the filmmaker had to say below.
"It's a family drama, so it's The Godfather. Obviously a very different genre (and) a very different story but I got intrigued by that idea, so that's really what it is. It's a generational family saga very different than the first film. Now, it's the same type of settings and the same sort of respect for that shock of the new that we want to show you things that not only that you haven't seen, but you haven't imagined, " he said adding the story is not what we might expect. "It's a continuation of the same characters but what happens when warriors, willing to go on suicide charges and leap off cliffs on to the backs of big orange Toruks, grow up and have their own kids. Now the kids are the change makers. It's interesting. Everyone is either a parent or they had parents at the very least. If you look at the big successful franchises now they are pretty much uninterested in it. So this could be the seeds of utter damnation and doom for the project or could be the thing that makes it stand apart and continue to be unique. Nobody knows until you make the movie and put it out. Anyone who thinks this is easy or they are just printing money over there at the Avatar studio, it doesn't work that way."
The filmmaker added that he is 100 days into production on Avatar 2 and Avatar 3, describing them as a "conjoined effort" as he jumps back and forth between both movies in no particular order. The scripts for Avatar 4 and Avatar 5 are also ready, but for now, he's focusing his efforts on Avatar 2 and Avatar 3, which are set for release in 2020 and 2021, respectively. The filmmaker also expressed his thoughts on the sci-fi genre as a whole, predicting that within a few years, there will finally be the first pure sci-fi film to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
"There is definitely an industry perspective and it is kind of aging-out, and I predict that sometime in the next five to ten years you will have a pure science fiction film win Best Picture. They are getting nominated all the time, Arrival being a recent example. I think it's shifting as the (Academy) membership that has that prejudice just ages out. Science Fiction is kind of a commercial genre. It's not really an elevated dramatic genre. In fact, it's a genre as opposed to humanistic storytelling. But I would argue until I am blue in the face that science fiction is the quintessence of being human in a sense. We are technological beings. We are the only truly conscious species that we know of. We are struggling with ourselves over the issue of our own quest for understanding, our own ability to manipulate the fabric of reality, our own technologies blowing back on us and changing the way we behave amongst ourselves and as a civilization. We are living a science fiction reality. So I would say there is nothing more quintessentially human than dealing with these themes, but I agree Hollywood tends to pull short from that. They will reward science fiction films for their accomplishment visually, but they are definitely a kind of red-headed stepchild when it comes to the acting, producing, directing categories."
The filmmaker also addressed the impending merger between Avatar's studio home, 20th Century Fox, and Disney, adding that he is "fully committed" to the ambitious timetable of making all four Avatar movies, regardless of what happens with the Disney Fox merger, which won't be officially approved until mid-2019. The filmmaker added that he will deal more completely with Avatar 4 and Avatar 5 once he wraps up work on Avatar 2 and Avatar 3. Head over to Deadline for more from James Cameron on his Avatar sequels and much more.