James Cameron is heading into a 14-day government supervised quarantine as production on his long-awaited “Avatar” sequels looks to restart in New Zealand. “Avatar” producer Jon Landau announced the quarantine while sharing a photo of Cameron and himself arriving in New Zealand from Los Angeles after a 13-hour direct flight. The two men had originally planned to be back in New Zealand working on the “Avatar” sequels in the early spring, but production was suspended in mid-March amid the coronavirus pandemic. Productions in New Zealand started ramping back up again in May, paving the way for Cameron and Landau’s return. The 14-day quarantine means production on the “Avatar” sequels will likely resume in June. The sequels will be one of the first major Hollywood tentpoles back in production.
According to Variety, Cameron and Landau traveled to New Zealand along with some 50 passengers over the weekend. All of the crew that traveled to New Zealand will have to adhere to government mandates and safety precautions and quarantine for 14 days. Per Variety: “It is understood that in order to be allowed into the country at a time when borders are officially still closed Cameron, Landau and the foreign crew elements used a border exemption clause for foreigners considered of ‘significant economic value.'”
Cameron told Empire magazine last month that the “Avatar” production shutdown was putting a “major crimp” in the crew’s stride, adding, “I want to get back to work on ‘Avatar,’ which right now we’re not allowed to do under state emergency laws or rules. So it’s all on hold right now. We were about to shoot down in New Zealand, so that got pushed. We’re trying to get back to it as quick as we can.”
In an interview last December, Cameron confirmed that motion capture on “Avatar 2” and “Avatar 3” had already been completed in its entirety and that all that was left to film on the first follow-up was live-action pickups. The small amount of live-action footage left to film for “Avatar 2” has Cameron confident that the movie will meet its December 2021 release date despite the weeks-long production shutdown. The first “Avatar” sequel is scheduled to open from Disney on December 17, 2021.