is for Follow-ups
Will there be sequels? A lot will depend on how the movie performs, but Cameron is already considering ideas.
“I gave the game designers a lot of latitude, and created some boundaries for areas that I didn’t want to go, if not to protect the movie, then to protect the sequel possibilities… Some of the ideas they came up with, I thought if I couldn’t fit them into this film, I’d fit them into sequels.”
And when he’s asked more bluntly about whether this could launch a franchise?
“Absolutely. Are you kidding? How else are we going to pay for all of this?”
is for Edgar Rice Burroughs
The man who created Tarzan – and, more appropriately, John Carter Of Mars – was a big inspiration in the formative years of young Jim Cameron.
“My inspiration is every single science fiction book I read as a kid. And a few that weren't science fiction. “The Edgar Rice Burroughs books, H. Rider Haggard — the manly, jungle adventure writers.
I wanted to do an old-fashioned jungle adventure, just set it on another planet, and play by those rules.”
is for Digital Domain
Back in the mid-90s, Cameron held a controlling interest in the Los Angeles based effects house, which worked on Titanic (above).
In true JC style, he wanted to challenge them. So Avatar was born.
“In the mid-90s we were really good at 2D composite, but lagging behind in 3-D,” admits the writer/director. “I decided to write a story that would push the art of CG.
“They looked at it and said, 'we can’t do that'. I put the treatment in the drawer. It’s timelier than ever because of us being at war and the environment crisis.
“It was also a damn good read. I went back to it and said we could do this now. The second Lord Of The Rings movie had been done. Gollum was looking pretty good.”
is for Cameron
That’s James Cameron, in case you were wondering.
The man without whom Avatar would not even exist took some time out to work on other things after sinking the Titanic and making a mint.
But in his own way, he was always preparing for his dream project.
“I disappeared. I was just doing the shit I wanted to do,” he says.
“And I could afford to do it after Titanic. I did six deep-ocean expeditions because I could afford to do them, and at the time it looked like a master plan, trying to work with 3-D technology, we did a ton of 3-D shooting, some of it in very rough conditions.
“So in a funny way, when I started the live-action shoot on Avatar I knew exactly what to do.”
is for Barlowe
That would be Wayne D Barlowe, a concept artist and creature designer who has worked on the likes of Hellboy (including helping to bring Abe Sapien to life), Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban and Galaxy Quest.
“The first person I hired was Wayne Barlowe,” says James Cameron.
“And Wayne designs the trippiest aliens out there. But we had to rein back, because it’s also a love story. So there were narrative considerations.”
A is for Avatar
So what does the term stand for exactly?
Put basically, the "avatars" of the movie are genetically tinkered hybrids that blend human DNA with that of the Na’vi from Pandora.
Controlled by means of a mental link, they’re the means for humans to live and interact in the oxygen-challenged atmosphere of the world without needing the usual heavy mech suits.
Sam Worthington’s Jake Sully – a paralysed marine – ends up being chosen to control one – and his journey is just beginning…