I’m in the Avatar business
New York Times
„Who are you in awe of?
I just gave you three examples. You know, there’s the old guard. You know, Spielberg, Kubrick and all that sort of thing. But in terms of new filmmakers, up and coming, I haven’t seen anybody that blew me away in the last year or so.
What about scripts that you’re looking at? Is there a project that you’re working on right now? Or subject matters or general areas of interest that you’re looking at?
That’s interesting. I’ve divided my time over the last 16 years over deep ocean exploration and filmmaking. I’ve made two movies in 16 years, and I’ve done eight expeditions. Last year I basically completely disbanded my production company’s development arm. So I’m not interested in developing anything. I’m in the Avatar business. Period. That’s it. I’m making Avatar 2, Avatar 3, maybe Avatar 4, and I’m not going to produce other people’s movies for them. I’m not interested in taking scripts. And that all sounds I suppose a little bit restricted, but the point is I think within the Avatar landscape I can say everything I need to say that I think needs to be said, in terms of the state of the world and what I think we need to be doing about it. And doing it in an entertaining way. And anything I can’t say in that area, I want to say through documentaries, which I’m continuing. I’ve done five documentaries in the last 10 years, and I’ll hopefully do a lot more. In fact, I’m doing one right now, which is on this, the Deep Sea Challenge project that we just completed the first expedition. So that’ll be a film that’ll get made this year and come out first quarter of next year.
Avatar, of course, said a few things in terms of your world view, including on the environment. And here of course, it was interpreted differently as being about China. Some people online and fans took a kind of political overlay that applied here.
Yeah, I’m not too aware of the nuances of that. Other than that there was speculation that it might be problematic for the government, seen as criticism of a resource-hungry nation. Except all the developing or developed nations on the planet are resource-hungry. So the same perspective was in Russia, Europe, Canada and the U.S. I got the biggest political blowback in the U.S., because frankly the U.S. is the most medieval right now when it comes to climate change and the role of business in compromising and devastating the natural world. Way behind Europe.
How far are you along in working on the Avatar sequels?
We’ve spent the last year and a half on software development and pipeline development. The virtual production methodology was extremely prototypical on the first film. As then, no one had ever done it before and we didn’t even know for two and half years into it and $100 million into it if it was going to work. So we just wanted to make our lives a whole lot easier so that we can spend a little more of our brainpower on creativity. It was a very, very uphill battle on the first film. So we’ve been mostly working on the tool set, the production pipeline, setting up the new stages in Los Angeles, setting up the new visual effects pipeline in New Zealand, that sort of thing. And, by the way, writing. We haven’t gotten to the design stage yet. That’ll be the next.”
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