Saturday, August 07, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: James Cameron Interview! Talks AVATAR Re-release, Sequels, 3D Conversions & Working With Del Toro!

Just got off the phone with James Cameron! Great to hear from him again and get some interesting news and confirmations. If you would like to listen to the last time I spoke with him, you can check out the interview here.

Today's call was made available in connection with AVATAR: SPECIAL EDITION which will be running in a limited engagement starting August 27.

I have broken down today's interview into segments listed below so you can quickly find your interest item, but of course I recommend listening to the whole thing!

With all the recent hoopla over 3D conversions and the ridiculous stories that 3D is dying, it is so refreshing to hear from the man that really started it all for modern 3D in Hollywood (along with Mr. Katzenberg of course). Have a listen!!

0:40 - Cameron confirms he is producing Guillermo del Toro's AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS. The movie will be shot in native 3D using next generation FUSION 3D cameras from Pace. The project came up only 2 or 3 weeks ago when Cameron asked about if del Toro was still interested in it. As del Toro was clearly excited to do it, Cameron said "let's do it". They took it to Universal with both of them attached to the fast tracked project and now it looks like it will be going in the 2nd quarter of 2011.

2:30 - Cameron talks about 3D conversions. TITANIC's conversion is taking 8 months to a year to complete, not a fast turnaround like CLASH OF THE TITANS. Cameron: "(TITANS) showed a fundamental lack of knowledge about stereo space, in addition to the shoddy work that comes from rushing." Cameron likes TITANS in 2D as do I (I have had the Blu-ray since it was released) from a directorial standpoint and as a fan of Sam Worthington.

5:00 - Cameron on how they are technically converting TITANIC. "You just can't cut out edges, you're going to get flat people moving around." He will be using all his knowledge to put things on their right depth planes. They had tests for TITANIC from seven different conversion vendors on the exact same shots and they got back seven different answers as to were they thought things were spatially. "Some of them were not bad guesses and some of them were ridiculous."

6:50 - The whole argument about conversion will go away for high end, first run 3D. Two years from now when there are thousands of 3D cameras out their shooting live feeds to 3D broadcast networks, how can a producer go to a studio and say: "I can't shoot 3D. It's too difficult. There are too many problems. It costs too much. It adds 6 months to post-production. They won't be able to say any of that stuff. That stuff is all garbage."

9:05 - Cameron on talking with Steven Spielberg about converting his classic movies to 3D. "Make sure you are there for (the conversions), then it can be great."

11:20 - Cameron talks about AVATAR 2's current status. He has an overall story arc for 2 and 3, but has some modifications for that after spending some time during the last few months with native tribes in the Amazon basin. Script will be a ways out yet for AVATAR 2.

12:04 - He is focusing his writing right now on the AVATAR novel (corresponds to the first film) and that will take him the next couple of months to bang out. Not sure when it will be coming out, perhaps the end of the year or the first quarter of 2011.

12:45 - The AVATAR re-release will have 9 extra minutes, not 8 and it will all be CG. No extra footage of live action characters drinking coffee. Rainforest; some at night; a hunt sequence - a lot of flying; high impact action; an emotional scene toward the end has been added back; "the best CG in the film has been added as far as facial performance"; A Na'vi counterattack after the bulldozer attack; more of Grace at the school; adding the Stingbat and Sturmbeast creatures; additional Quaritch final AMP Suit battle shots; more of the glade love scene. It is all on par with the best of the rest of the film. They had lots of footage to choose from and they put back the absolute best scenes and shots they could.

15:45 - Cameron does not have the release timing of the 3D Blu-ray as they want to have a nice distribution of 3DTVs in homes. He has seen the 3D master run on consumer 3DTVs from Panasonic and Samsung and "It looks amazing. It looks really spectacular."

Special thanks to Jim Cameron and 20th Century Fox for setting this up! I am looking forward to the re-release on August 27 and to hearing more about the AVATAR novel and AVATAR movie sequel in the coming months. Stay tuned for more information as I get it...

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