Avatar 2: Ace director James Cameron explains why he made sequel, and more
Often referred to as an “audacious visionary”, Hollywood’s most-sought-after director, James Cameron admitted that he had done a lot of introspection before deciding to make a sequel to his blockbuster movie, Avatar.
It wasn’t a “snap decision”, admitted James Cameron about his plan to further delve into the beautiful blue world of Pandora for the sequel Avatar: The Way of Water that is currently playing in theatres in India. (As per trade sources, the film earned just over ₹20 crore in advance booking across India till Thursday night)
The filmmaker said the massive box-office earnings of the 2009 Avatar (over US$ 2 billion), set on a fictional alien moon, situated in the real Alpha Centauri system, inhabited by a native tribe called Na’vi, gave him an opening to people’s hearts and minds.
According to the director, who made cult films like Titantic and Terminator and is celebrated for constantly pushing the boundaries of filmmaking with his innovative technologies, the feedback from the world in all cultures was that they had wanted more of the Pandora world.
“That’s what people said afterwards. It was too short. I didn’t want to leave, I wanted to stay there. As an artist, I’ve already got an avenue right into the hearts and minds of people around the world,” he told news agency PTI in a virtual group interview.
The filmmaker said he had to do a lot of introspection before making the sequel as well as more follow-ups, (he has plans to make Avatar 3, 4 and 5), which are already in various stages of production. “I had to think about it for a few years before I decided to go ahead. It wasn’t a snap decision or a no-brainer,” he reiterated.
“I had to ask myself as a filmmaker, as an artist, and as somebody who has a lot of other things that I like to do, like exploration and sustainability causes – is this something I want to do and devote my life to? Because that’s really what you do when you make a movie like this. It’s a hundred per cent,” he said.
Citing the example of his contemporary Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Cameron said as a storyteller one needs a better reason to return to a franchise and it can’t be money.
“Steven Spielberg never made a sequel to E.T., the highest-grossing film in the world at that time, but he didn’t make another film… We don’t want to tempt fate and the gods of cinema. So I had to weigh all this out, but I eventually decided to go ahead and here we are today, not with just one movie, but with another one to follow and hopefully more beyond that,” he added.
Avatar followed a paraplegic marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), who becomes an unlikely champion for the Na’vi, the 10-foot-tall and blue-skinned, sapient humanoids, in their fight for survival. The film, which also featured Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang and Sigourney Weaver, was a colossal success, becoming Cameron’s second movie after Titanic to raise over US$ 2 billion at the box office. It is currently the highest-grossing title of all time.
Cameron said he considers the commercial success of a project as a parameter to measure the appreciation his work has received. “An artist tries to communicate with other people. You try to take something from within your own perception of the world and you try to write it out for the world in some form – a novel, a painting, a dance, a music, or a movie,” he said.
“So, I think that’s a validation that has to be considered because the movie thematically was about something that I think is quite important – our relationship with nature, our destructive role with nature and our protective role with nature,” he asserted.
Avatar: The Way of Water, which released in theatres on Friday, will see Worthington’s Sully and Saldana’s Neytiri doing everything they can to keep their family together.
When unforeseen events displace them from their home, the Sullys travel across the vast reaches of Pandora, ultimately fleeing to a territory held by the Metkayina clan, who live in harmony with their surrounding oceans.
The movie was in development for the past five years and audiences will witness the commitment of the team when they watch the film on the big screen, Cameron said.
“This is full immersion and full commitment. I do a lot of things that have to do with sustainability and ocean conservation. I’ve probably made five or six documentaries during that time. But in terms of my focus, in terms of big movie cinema, it has been a hundred per cent focus in this world… When you see a movie like this, you will see the end result of five years of a creative team creating every detail down to a fractal level. Which is why it seems so rich and so real when you watch it,” he said.
Avatar: The Way of Water also features Lang, Weaver, Giovanni Ribisi, Dileep Rao, along with newcomers to the Avatar world, Kate Winslet and Cliff Curtis.