So, James Cameron hit the interwebs for a Reddit AMA over the weekend, and he had a lot to say. We’ve already highlighted his comments about a proposed “Alien 5” and his thoughts on “Prometheus,” but that was just the tip of the iceberg (yes, an obvious “Titanic” reference). Cameron had a lot more to say about no small shortage of topics, so let’s just dive right in with the good stuff:
As you know, the director has three more “Avatar” movies coming down the pipeline with production slated to begin soon, and ever ambitious, he revealed his plans on how he’ll tackle the followups and what the status is and whether or not the weight of expectation is on his shoulders:
The second, third and fourth films all go into production simultaneously. They’re essentially all in preproduction now, because we are designing creatures, settings, and characters that span all three films. And we should be finished with all three scripts within the next, I would say, six weeks.
There’s always pressure, whether it’s a new film or whether it’s a sequel, to entertain and amaze an audience. I’ve felt that pressure my entire career, so there’s nothing new there. The biggest pressure I feel right now is cutting out things I love to get the film down to a length that is affordable. There hasn’t been a problem finding new and wonderful things to include in the movie.
But what’s the deal with “Battle Angel,” the movie that was supposed to come after “Avatar”? Turns out Cameron finds the themes of “Avatar” a bit more important:
My intention when I made Avatar was to do Battle Angel next. However, the positive feedback for Avatar and the support of the message of Avatar, encouraged me to do more of those films.
For me, the success was a factor because I was encouraged by the fact that an environmental film, or a film about nature, could be successful. It’s certainly not just about money. I’m considering success to mean the measure of the ability of the film to communicate. Every director wants their film to communicate. The biggest factor, however, is the drive to continue developing the world– more characters, more creatures with unfettered creativity.
And while he’s currently sequel happy, that “True Lies” followup is dead because the concept doesn’t work:
We abandoned True Lies 2 after 9/11, because we didn’t think a comedy about fundamentalist terrorists was so funny anymore. And then we never picked it up again.
Moving into the realm of technology, Cameron has some thoughts on the current frame rate debate, and when it comes his preferred format, he wants everything in 3D but with the best projection possible:
48 fps to me is not a format, it’s a tool, like music it’s good to use sparingly and in the right spot. I believe all movies should be made in 3D, forever, but the projection needs to be better, and brighter. I want people to see in the movie theaters what I am seeing in my perfectly calibrated screening room, and people aren’t seeing that. Larger formats. I’d love to see screens get bigger. In terms of storytelling, I’d like to see Hollywood embrace the caliber of writing in feature films that we’re currently seeing in the series on television – more emphasis on character, and less on explosions and pyrotechnics. And I’m talking the big tentpole movies, I think they’re obnoxiously loud and fast….Not that I don’t like loud fast scenes, I just don’t like whole movies that are that way!
Speaking of technology, Cameron knows how to find the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370:
They’ll triangulate the acoustic data that they have so far, and they’ll generate what’s called a search box. I don’t know how big that will be, but it might be 25-30 miles on a side, it might be a very large piece of ocean. Then there are a suite of tools that can operate at the kind of depth we’re talking about, I believe between 4,000-5,000 meters. My ultra-deep submersible would not be required at those levels, that’s half of the level it’s designed for.
The next step would be to use an AUV, an autonomous underwater vehicle, and have it run at 400 or 500 feet above the bottom and do a sonar profile of the bottom, it does that by running a search pattern, kind of like mowing the lawn. That takes days or weeks to do. Then you analyze any signatures that are anomalous, that don’t look like flat bottom, and you say are those rocks, is that geology or does that look like the piece of an aircraft? And then once you have those targets, you know where they are on the bottom, then you go back, either with that type of vehicle or an ROV (a remotely operated vehicle) that would be hanging down from a ship on a cable. And you’d take a look essentially with a videocamera. And then you’d be able to identify whether that target was in fact the aircraft you are looking for.
It all hinges on whether or not those pings are actually from the black box, and not from something else, like a scientific instrument that’s drifted off course or whatever.
Cameron also revealed his biggest movie influence, his favorite film of 2014 and his favorite guilty please flick. All three answers below:
Well, I can point directly to the film that had the biggest early influence on me, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Even though it’s not necessarily my favorite film right now, it has a very special place for me developmentally, because when I saw it, I went from someone who enjoyed watching movies to wanting to make movies myself. So I started to experiment with creating that imagery.
My favorite film of last year, hands down, was Gravity, and I was hoping it would win best picture, but certainly happy that my friend Alfonso Cuaron won best director.
Oh, probably Resident Evil, the first one. I just like that film! You don’t have to defend a guilty pleasure.
Lastly, Cameron weighed in on the question of who would win in a battle: T-800, Alien queen or Na’vi…
Is the T-800 armed or not armed?
An Armed T-800 with a plasma rifle will clean house, all it has to do is shoot the Alien Queen, and have it bleed on the Na’vi. I would think that all three of them unarmed. Queen beats Na’vi. Queen beats T-800, because the T-800 would tear the arm off a queen, which would dissolve the mantel and shut down the cyborg.
Now a Na’vi riding a leonopteryx, or a Na’vi riding a thanataur, that would be a different story.