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James Cameron's Avatar / Project 880
Archiv 2008



Die archivierten Nachrichten aus der Rubrik "Aktuelles"...

[26.12.2008] Bei LATimes.com gibt es ein Bild vom Set: James Cameron & Sam Worthington...

[24.11.2008] Bei IESB gibt es Artwork von und ein Video-Interview mit Jonay Bacallado...
[...] According to the reporter the budget for Avatar is over $200 million and is over 10 years of work.
Avatar is the most complicated project he's ever worked on mainly because of the different levels of work that there is.
The designs are for real people and then for the people that are going to be digitized so those people can be mixed in as 3D digital creatures along with live action.
It's a level of production that even for the people that were working there escaped them a bit.
Using technology specifically by James Cameron, using a camera that's never been used before created by James Cameron himself. [...]


[21.11.2008] Bei CraveOnline.com gibt es ein Video-Interview mit John Clisham, der auch an "Avatar" mitarbeitet...

[18.11.2008] Wenn man AICN in diesem Fall Glauben schenken darf und/oder will, dann erwartet uns in Kürze ein rund 4-minütiger Teaser bzw. eine Featurette zu "Avatar"...

[07.11.2008] CS! meldet...
IMAX Corporation and Twentieth Century Fox today announced that they have reached agreement on material terms to release the highly anticipated 3D motion picture Avatar in IMAX®3D simultaneously with the motion picture's premiere in conventional 3D theaters on December 18, 2009. [...] Avatar will be digitally re-mastered into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience®.
"Our goal with 'Avatar' is to revolutionize live-action 3D moviemaking, and I have no doubt that it will look and sound incredible in IMAX 3D," said director James Cameron. "The larger field of view and powerful surround sound of an IMAX® theatre will completely immerse the audience in a way that cannot be experienced anywhere else." [...]


[15.10.2008] Ein sehenswertes Video-Interview mit James Cameron ist online, auch "Avatar" ist Thema...

[07.10.2008] DH meldet...
IESB spoke to 20th Century Fox co-chairman Tom Rothman about "Avatar" the other day and he admits that a sequel looks likely if it hits.
"If it does well, yes, absolutely, in terms of an arena a whole new world" says Rothman. He won't comment on the exact budget but says "As always with Jim [Cameron] everything is misreported, everything is exaggerated, because he is larger than life and so everything surrounding him tends to be larger than life. While it's obviously an expensive movie, it's not an unprecedented expensive movie and it's not even the most expensive movie we've made at the company and certainly not close to the most expensive movie that's been made in the business recently."
Why do such a project "It isn't even the technology, it isn't even the look and the world all of which is the coolest shit I've ever seen, it isn't even any of that, it's that it's a great story. It's just a great story. You read the story and you are gripped by every page, it's just a great, original story with tremendously, classic emotional value." [...]


[12.09.2008] AICN berichtet über einen Besuch in den Stan Winston Studios, die für "Avatar" auch praktische Effekte beisteuern...
Chris Swift: Everybody loves practical. I mean, it just looks right and looks real. Even digital loves it because it makes their job easier. I think it'll be around for a while.
Beaks: We know you're working on Avatar with James Cameron, who's been leading the drive into digital filmmaking. But the fact that he's still integrating practical effects must be a [vindication].
Swift: Yeah... I worked, as well as Dave... heavily on doing design work and everything for AVATAR. Neither one of us can talk much about it (Laughter), but I will say this about it: obviously being a digital movie and going after it as a digital movie, we ended up doing a lot of practical f/x for it - and a lot of practical things that Jim didn't even know we were building. When Jim kind of brought us on board for that, it was the idea that we were brought on mostly as a design phase. And, look, Jim Cameron is Jim Cameron. He goes all the way back to being a special effects guy, so you can't fool him and you can't pull wool over his eyes. So if he's not getting it from one direction, he'll go another direction. Being a practical guy, he's not against a practical sense, so we ended up doing a lot of maquettes and... doing practical versions of sculptures of the characters. That's what he ended up being sold on, was those versions.
When CHUD's Devin Faraci asked if there were indeed practical elements on Cameron's sets, Merritt gently declined comment. We were told all further questions should be directed to John Rosengrant, who's serving as the "Character Effects Coordinator" on AVATAR.
Interestingly, after we finished our tour, we learned that Rosengrant had gone to lunch. Damn.


[06.09.2008] Variety.com berichtet über das finanzielle Wagnis und die Sorgen der Studios...

[01.09.2008] Bei Widescreen-Vision.de gibt es ein Audio-Interview mit Sigourney Weaver...

[07.08.2008] Bei THR.com gibt es ein Interview mit James Cameron...
[...] Slated to open Dec. 18, 2009, the production already has been in the works for 2 1/2 years. When completed, Cameron expects "Avatar" to be about 60% CG animation, based on characters created using a newly developed performance capture-based process, and 40% live action, with a lot of VFX in the imagery.
"It is the most challenging film I've ever made," Cameron said.
Still, the innovative filmmaker and digital 3-D pioneer and champion has never shifted his emphasis from storytelling.
"You have to make a good film that would be a good film under any circumstances," he said. "You have to put the narrative first. The reality is no matter how many (3-D) screens we get, you are still going to have a large number of people -- possibly the majority of people -- who see the film in a 2-D environment."
The live-action principal photography for "Avatar" was shot in New Zealand last fall and winter using the Fusion 3-D camera system. Cameron first used the Fusion to make his 2003 Imax 3-D film "Ghosts of the Abyss"; he and "Ghosts" director of photography Vince Pace invented the camera system for the project. [...]
With "Avatar's" principal photography completed, Cameron is focused on CG production. The helmer said his team has completed the performance capture (sometimes referred to as motion capture) of the actors and is in the post process of performance capture 3-D. [...]


[11.07.2008] MarketSaw präsentiert den Umriss eines "Avatar"-Aliens, welches von einem Crew-Shirt stammt...

[21.05.2008] SearchEngineWatch zitiert James Cameron...
[...] "'Avatar' will make people truly experience something," said Cameron."One more layer of the suspension of disbelief will be removed. All the syn-thespians are photo-realistic. Now that we've achieved it, we discovered CG characters in 3D look more real than in 2D. Your brain is cued it's a real thing not a picture and discounting part of image that makes it look fake."
Part of the movie is subtitled because it takes place on alien planet. [...]
"I don't know whether will be great film from narrative and critical standpoint," said Cameron. "The experience of Avatar will be an experience unlike any other movies."
He started with Microsoft Research looking at the way people see. The project soon moved out of the realm of speculation.
"'Avatar' is the single most complex piece of filmmaking ever made," said Cameron. "We have 1,600 shots for a 2.5 hour movie. It's not with a single CGI character, like King Kong or Gollum. We have hundreds of photo-realistic CG characters. We were Microsoft's sandbox for filmmaking beyond the cutting edge." [...]


[01.04.2008] Moriarty von AICN schreibt...
[...] I’ve also spoken recently with several people who have seen some of the progress being made on AVATAR, and what’s interesting is the way their expectations for the film seem to be evolving as it comes into focus. One friend went from saying "It’s going to be a really expensive cartoon, albeit a very cool one," to "It’s nothing like his other films... it’s very cerebral and the world is so immersive... it’s not what I expected, but it’s also not like anything I can reference." Seeing how the live-action and the performance-capture are being brought together, my friend said he no longer believes in the word unfilmable. "If you can describe it, we can do it on film now. Scale, other worlds, deep space, some impossible location... it’s all within our reach. It’s all about imagination now... how big can these guys dream?" [...]

[11.03.2008] CS! sprach mit Michelle Rodriguez über "Avatar"...
ComingSoon.net: [...] How is "Avatar" going?
Michelle Rodriguez:
We finished shooting and now they're going to go into post for about a year.
CS: Have you seen any of the footage?
Rodriguez:
It's spectacular.
CS: Our audience is really excited about it, so anything you can tell me would be great.
Rodriguez:
I've seen raw stuff that hasn't even been touched up. It's not even in its second phase of all of the computer post-production that they've got to do, and it looks phenomenal. [...]
CS: What was the process of shooting on the set like?
Rodriguez:
Just being surrounded by geniuses. In between cuts we'd just be talking about science. He's an encyclopedia that guy and I love him for it. I just get fed information which is great.
CS: How do you think fans are going to react when they see "Avatar"?
Rodriguez:
They're going to react the same way they did when people saw their first colored film. I'm so proud to be a part of it. [...]


[21.02.2008] Bei AICN schreibt James Cameron über den Stand der Dinge...
[...] Things are going well on Avatar, or at least as well as can be expected on such a ridiculously complex project. We've wrapped principal, and most of the live action portion of the movie is already cut. It's starting to look and sound like a movie. I'm ecstatic with the performances and the look. The cast chemistry worked out perfectly.
I'm in New Zealand right now, working on effects, while Steve Quale shoots some second unit. We've worked together a lot (he did the engine room scenes on "Titanic", plus co-directed "Aliens of the Deep" with me) and he's the only guy I trust to shoot stuff for me, especially in 3D. We still have a little performance capture work to do with Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana in March, when we get her back from Star Trek (she's Uhura -- but of course you already knew that.) And we have a couple of days with Stephen Lang in April or May, to shoot his character's last scene, which is so technically difficult it will take us until then to figure out how to do it.
You can see how spread out the schedule is -- it's just the nature of this type of CG animation/live action hybrid. Most of my time now is spent editing, because on this type of film you edit every CG scene twice -- once to edit the raw performance capture, before it goes to virtual camera, and then again when you have the virtual camera shots, you do the final edit of the scene. It's very complex and taxing, but the result is amazing. The Weta animators are ON FIRE, and seeing the world and the creatures come to life is what keeps us going. There's a spirit on this film, an esprit de corps amongst the virtual team, that comes from knowing we're doing something absolutely groundbreaking. It's why people still have good morale after working on this thing for two years or more. And we still have more than a year and a half to go. I don't know if this will be a good film, great film, awful film, but I can say with absolute certainty that you will see stuff you've never imagined, and that the process of making this film will generate a lot of interest within the technical side of the biz. When I edit with some of our early stuff, "shot" using our virtual camera system over a year and half ago, it already looks laughably crude. Our process has evolved so much, just within the making of this one movie. Of course the final standard of photoreal animation will be consistent throughout the film, because it all gets rendered in a big frenzy next year. [...]


[12.01.2008] CS! berichtet über die realitätsbezogenen Grundlagen für das Design...
[...] the distant planet of Pandora in James Cameron's upcoming sci-fi action-adventure Avatar is being based in part on real-life drilling rig the Noble Clyde Boudreaux (pictured left) in the Gulf of Mexico. In the film, the off-world mining colony the actors inhabit will have the look and feel of inner workings of the Boudreaux.
The design team at Cameron's production company, Lightstorm, visited the rig to learn more about how it is all put together. The movie will utilize a blend of live-action photography and new virtual photorealistic production techniques invented by Cameron's team. However, the most believable movie sets (computer generated or real) are based on elements of real environments.
Cameron's design team believed they would find all these elements in Boudreaux. [...]
Of particular interest to the designers were the mechanical systems, crew quarters, ballast control and power plant operations - all of which were measured and documented. Likewise, the team focused on the rig's ultra-modern drilling and mooring systems as possible settings in the movie's mining operations. [...]


[12.12.2007] Variety.com berichtet über die Verschiebung des Kinostarts...
[...] "Avatar," announced earlier this year, will now open on the same weekend that Cameron's "Titanic" did in 1997. The live-action/CGI hybrid is Cameron's first feature since "Titanic," which, after a decade, remains the highest-grossing film of all time, grossing $1.8 billion at the worldwide box office.
So far, no other films are dated for release on Dec. 18, 2009.
Pushing back the release of "Avatar" from May to December allows both more time to work on the effects and that much more time for additional theaters to install 3-D screens both here and abroad.
With the extra months, Cameron and Peter Jackson's Weta Digital will continue working on the groundbreaking technology invented by Cameron's team and Weta for the film.
"Making this change more than two years out allows Weta to achieve this unparalleled cinematic feat with the most efficient completion of the digital effects," Parker said.


[04.12.2007] Bei AICN gibt es nun die ganze Nachricht von James Cameron zum Stand der Dinge...
[...] I've been up to my ass in avatars for the last couple of months, so haven't had a chance to update you on progress. We're down in New Zealand shooting the live action and the stuff is looking really good. I love my cast, and the 3D cameras are working spectacularly. We seem to be firing on all eight so far.
The first couple of weeks we were still coming up to speed, figuring out how to control the interocular and convergence for all different types of shooting situations. But we've got that dialed in now. We've reworked the camera software on the fly, using a set of look-up curves we wrote ourselves, so now the cameras basically go to a default interocular setting automatically based on focal length and subject distance --- a kind of "auto-stereo" --- which is working really well. I can be hand-holding a shot, and decide to crank in on the zoom in the middle of the shot, completely unrehearsed, and our system compensates instantly. It's definitely the most advanced stereo camera system in existence. And the result is enveloping stereo with zero eye strain or unwanted viewing artifacts. You feel like you're there.
Each one of my actors is turning in incandescent work --- Sigourney, Sam Worthington, Stephen Lange, Giovanni Ribisi, Michelle Rodriguez, Joel David Moore ---- they're each so right on that it's impossible to think of anyone else playing their characters. And the sets which were built down here by the Kiwi art department are the best I've ever worked with. The detailing is incredible. I want to bring some of the vehicles home and park them on my tennis court.
Since this film is basically going to be four years of my life by the time it's done, I decided it had to fun to make as I went along, or it just wasn't worth it. I'm having a blast. It's all attitude. The work is just as hard as any film I've made, but for the first time on a movie I'm actually enjoying the process on a day to day basis. [...]


[03.12.2007] Bei AICN gibt es einen Kommentar von James Cameron zum kürzlich veröffentlichten Artwork...
[...] You recently posted some artwork of a supposed Na'vi character. Don't know where you got it but it's spurious. I've never seen that piece of art. We had a lot of free-ranging conceptual stuff in the early days of design two and a half years ago, and it might be something that was done then but not shown to me, but it is definitely not remotely our actual character design. Aside from two legs, two arms and a tail, it doesn't have any features in common with our final designs. If I had to guess I'd say it's a piece of fan art based on the description of the Na'vi from the old treatment which was leaked twelve years ago. That description is obsolete relative to the shooting script, since things have changed a lot over the years. [...]

[29.11.2007] BritFilms zeigt einen weiteren Entwurf eines Aliens aus "Avatar" (HiRes-Version)... Und bei AICN gibt es einen gerechtfertigten Kommentar...
[...] I look at the image & see hints of THE ABYSS aliens...a touch of CG Angelina in BEOWULF...whispers of TRON...and a few other inspirations pop to mind. In other words: I see more derivation than inspiration. [...]

[12.11.2007] Variety.com meldet...
Matt Gerald ("In the Mix") has been cast in James Cameron’s "Avatar." Gerald will play the lead villain. Filming begins this month in New Zealand and Los Angeles. His previous credits include "S.W.A.T." and "Terminator 3"

[25.10.2007] Die NZ Film and Video Technicians' Guild meldet...
Avatar
Format: 3D HD Feature Film
Dates: October - November 2007 (6 weeks shooting)
Location: Wellington (Stone Street Studios)
Production Co: 880 Productions Ltd
Director: James Cameron [...]


[20.10.2007] The Dominion Post meldet...
[...] Cameron is in Wellington to start shooting scenes for the $US200 million science fiction film.
A secret Wellington location was uncovered yesterday where 80 imitation-gun-toting, camo-wearing stuntpeople and actors had gathered for days of rehearsals.
The men and women had split into pairs to learn how to provide covering fire for their partner. The manoeuvres included plenty of macho shouting and wide-legged posturing.
Cameron is shooting the film using a new 3D process and will feature a blend of live-action photography and virtual photorealistic production techniques invented by his team.
The film will also feature six computer-generated actors known as "synthespians".
Some work on the film has already been done in Los Angeles and Hawaii.
Peter Jackson's Weta Digital is supervising the special effects, and 31 days of additional live photography will be carried out on Weta's soundstages. The cast includes Sigourney Weaver, Giovanni Ribisi, Zoe Saldana and Michelle Rodriguez.
The film, written by Cameron, is about an ex-marine who finds himself amid hostilities on an alien planet.
As an Avatar - a human mind in an alien body - he falls in love with a local girl and joins resistance fighters in a battle for survival. [...]


[21.09.2007] HollywoodReporter.com meldet...
Giovanni Ribisi is landing on a new planet.
The actor has signed on to James Cameron's 3-D feature "Avatar," playing a passive-aggressive character named Selfridge in the Fox film about a band of humans pitted against a distant planet's indigenous inhabitants.
He joins a cast that includes Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver and Michelle Rodriguez.
The $190 million "Avatar" is set for release May 22, 2009, and features a blend of live-action photography and new virtual photorealistic production techniques invented by Cameron's team. The film features six computer-generated actors known as "synthespians" and is in production in Los Angeles and next month starts production in New Zealand at Weta Digital. [...]


[29.06.2007] JoBlo.com hat kürzlich einen Entwurf veröffentlicht, bei dem es sich angeblich um ein Alien aus dem Film handelt...

[28.03.2007] SciFi.com meldet...
Michael Biehn confirmed that he has talked with director James Cameron about a role in the helmer's upcoming SF epic film Avatar, which would reunite him with his Aliens director and co-star Sigourney Weaver in a movie Biehn characterized as "Lawrence of Arabia in space."
"I've had two very, very good meetings with Jim," Biehn said March 25 in an interview while promoting Grindhouse, in which he has a part. "And they went very well. He showed me a lot of stuff that he was doing. Showed me the presentation that he showed Fox. I thought they went very well. There have been a lot of other sources, like Harry Knowles at Aint-It-Cool-News.com, that have reported they have sources saying that I'm doing it, but so far I haven't heard anything from Jim. He hasn't cast the role yet."
Cameron has already cast Weaver, Australian actor Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana in the movie, which Cameron wrote and has been developing for more than a decade. Avatar is the story of a wounded ex-marine who is unwillingly sent to settle and exploit a faraway planet. He gets caught up in a battle for survival by the planet's inhabitants.
Biehn has appeared in several of Cameron's films, including the original Terminator, Aliens and The Abyss. "I've had two meetings with him, but they were a while ago, and he hasn't cast the role, and he hasn't cast me in it," Biehn said.
Biehn added that if he wins the role, his Grindhouse director Robert Rodriguez deserves some of the credit. "He and Robert are friends," Biehn said. "If I did get cast in it, ... I would give a lot of credit to Robert, because Robert showed Jim a lot of my footage from this movie before I had those meetings with Jim. So, you know, I think that ... I'm not sure that Jim saw me in that role originally anyway, and I think I might have won him over in a couple of meetings." [...]


[15.02.2007] Harry von AICN sprach mit James Cameron, u.a. über die Dreharbeiten und die Besetzung...
[...] We started off with Jim telling me that he was in Kauai en route to the airport to head back to California. He had just shot 3 days of live action work in Hawaii in the tropical rainforests. Apparently he was shooting with Sam Worthington, Lola Herrera and I believe he said Sigourney Weaver was there, but I might have heard that wrong.
Once he returns to California - he begins a stage called Pre-Capture where he'll mainly be shooting with Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana. The reason is that their characters have been fully entered into the CG system. He told me that this way, with the realtime rendering, he can actually compose and find his shots - and then work with the actors to get the performances he wants within those shots. [...]
[...] wanted to give me the new casting before having to go. So as you could see in the notes - we got:
WES STUDI, SIGOURNEY WEAVER (confirmed as Grace), Peter Mensah, Joel David Moore (fantastic in both HATCHET and SPIRAL) - I imagine him as being Hippy-esque (think ABYSS), C.C.H. Pounder (love her) and then last but not least... I believe it was Laz Alonso - looking at his filmography - that's the name that most fits with what I heard.
Jim said that each person was "perfectly cast for the part they're playing." He said there was more casting to be done, but that a great deal of it had fallen into place. [...]


[18.01.2007] Laut einem Beitrag bei AICN wird Sigourney Weaver nach eigener Aussage in einem kommenden Film von James Cameron mitspielen, evtl. in "Avatar" !?!

[10.01.2007] Harry von AICN sprach mit James Cameron...
Harry - [...] Take us through what you’re aiming for - for the visual texture of this film.
Jim -
Well, it’s Photorealism, but I think that doesn’t mean it won’t have a cinematic style - and whatever Cinematic style that we adopt - and there’s still some testing to be done there - it has to work equally well in shooting HD DIGITAL STEREO and with CG. So whether it is a hard light look or something soft with some diffusion or whatever kinda color treatment it is... whatever we decide on as our look - that kind of look up table has to work for the digital cameras as well as the cg stuff so that the audience really feels they’re watching one seamless thing. People should not be thinking that was live action and that was CG.
Harry - How early will you tease us with an image?
Jim -
That’s a good question, because what happens is there’s an awful big flurry of activity for like a year and you finally get one shot that you like and then after that another 1500 shots have to come in batches of hundreds. I would think that realistically it’d be SHOWEST of 07 - I’m sorry - of SHOWEST of 08 [...]


[09.01.2007] Bei CS! gibt es folgende Pressemeldung...
Academy Award®-winning filmmaker James Cameron begins principal photography on Avatar - his first feature directorial effort since Titanic - in April 2007 for a summer 2009 release, it was announced today by Fox Filmed Entertainment Chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman.
Utilizing a blend of live-action photography and new virtual photorealistic production techniques invented by Cameron's team, Avatar will offer audiences a unique cinematic experience. Avatar will be filmed in 3D for release in the new digital 3D format. With the continued roll-out of digital projection systems, the studio and filmmakers anticipate that digital 3D theaters will be widespread by the film's summer 2009 release.
For Avatar, Cameron will use revolutionary image-based performance capture techniques, and a real-time virtual camera system, to create new CG worlds and blend them with dramatic performances and live action in ways never before possible.
Avatar is written by Cameron from an idea he nurtured for over a decade, while working on the technology necessary to realize its wholly imagined world. A return to the action adventure sci-fi genre that made him famous, Avatar is also an emotional journey of redemption and revolution. It is the story of a wounded ex-marine, thrust unwillingly into an effort to settle and exploit an exotic planet rich in bio-diversity, who eventually crosses over to lead the indigenous race in a battle for survival. It thus again combines the elements of massive spectacle and intimate character that made Titanic the highest grossing film of all time; a title it still holds by over three quarters of a billion dollars.
Just as he did with the then little known Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron wanted a new face to portray the lead, Jake Sully. Having searched around the world and screen tested a number of emerging young actors, Cameron has chosen the young Australian Sam Worthington, a rising star who has been recognized by The Australian Film Institute and The Film Critics Circle of Australia, in his homeland from such work as Somersault and Dirty Deeds. Zoe Saldana (The Terminal, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl) will portray the local woman Jake first betrays, then loves. Both actors have signed on for possible future installments as well, as Avatar is conceived as a potential franchise. Other casting will be announced shortly.
Said Cameron, "For me, as a lifelong fan of science fiction and action, 'Avatar' is a dream project. We're creating an entire world, a complete ecosystem of phantasmagorical plants and creatures, and a native people with a rich culture and language. The story is both epic and emotional. The two things that make this film even possible are pioneering advances in CG effects and performance capture, as well as my 22 year relationship with Fox, since only with great trust can you operate so close to the cutting edge. I plan to honor that relationship by bringing them a winner. And I have the team to do it, the best team of artists and technicians I've ever been privileged to work with. This one's going to be a grand adventure."
"Every year, our business makes hundreds of films, most of which come and go. But a Jim Cameron film is different," said Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos. "Jim's movies raise the bar, both in storytelling and use of technology. 'Avatar' will do so again. The world he has created is breathtaking and the action breathless. It will take two more years, but in the summer of 2009, 'Avatar' will be a seismic change in the movie going experience."
The film's new image-based process of facial performance capture will get all the subtle nuances of the actors' performances. The virtual camera system will allow Cameron to work intimately with the cast while seeing in real-time, as each scene evolves, the computer generated worlds and characters. This revolutionary approach allows Cameron to direct scenes with CG characters and environments exactly as he would on a live action set.
The edited performances and scenes, incorporating Cameron's hands-on camera moves, will be turned over to Peter Jackson's Oscar-winning visual effects house Weta Digital ("The Lord of the Rings" trilogy). Weta's artists will incorporate new intuitive CGI technologies to transform the environments and characters into photorealistic 3D imagery that will transport the audience into the alien world rich with imaginative vistas, creatures and characters.
Avatar is produced by Cameron and Jon Landau for Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment. Principal photography will take place in and around Los Angeles, and in New Zealand. Live action will be shot using the proprietary FUSION digital 3D camera system developed by Cameron and Vince Pace.
Avatar is the latest creative partnership between Cameron and Twentieth Century Fox, one of the most successful filmmaker-studio alliances in motion picture history. Cameron and Fox first joined forces in 1985 for Aliens, which became a sci fi classic. Next came The Abyss, which revolutionized visual effects technology; and True Lies, a blockbuster starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 1996, Fox greenlighted Cameron's Titanic, which became the most successful film in history, and won a record-breaking eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.


[22.12.2006] Bei Independent.co.uk gibt es ein Interview mit James Cameron...
[...] He has started work on Avatar, a special effects-led feature film about a human who's put in charge of an alien planet.
"I felt I'd exhausted the treasury and it was time to go back to work," Cameron says. "Avatar is a very ambitious sci-fi movie." The director's enthusiasm is evident in his voice. "It's a futuristic tale set on a planet 200 years hence. It's an old-fashioned jungle adventure with an environmental conscience. It aspires to a mythic level of storytelling."
Avatar is not entirely a new venture; Cameron wrote the screenplay 11 years ago, and it has featured on Empire magazine's list of the 12 greatest unproduced scripts in Hollywood.
"I was never bored of making features," the director says. "This has been a dream project of mine for more than a decade, but when I first wrote it, the technology was not advanced enough. So I stuck the script in the drawer until the technology caught up."
Now it has. "The film requires me to create an entirely new alien culture and language, and for that I want 'photo-real' CGI characters. Sophisticated enough 'performance-capture' animation technology is only coming on stream now. I've spent the last 14 months doing performance-capture work - the actor performs the character and then we animate it.
"We've set up a studio, and last week [Lord of the Rings director] Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg were here trying out the technology. I said to them, 'Take my tools and play with them for a week.' They were grinning from ear to ear. It's a really exciting time because so many new things are now possible." [...]
Having not directed a feature film for so long, does the film-maker feel any added pressure? "No. There is always pressure to perform from one feature to the next. There are always high expectations.
"I remember going with a great sense of anticipation to each new Stanley Kubrick film and thinking, 'Can he pull it off and amaze me again?' And he always did. The lesson I learnt from Kubrick was, 'Never do the same thing twice.' Avatar is not like anything else I've done - nor were Titanic or Terminator or Aliens.
"I always want to find something mentally engaging. I'll spend many months completing the special effects on Avatar, and it will not be released until the summer of 2009. It's quite a challenge - and for that reason, I embrace it." [...]


[17.10.2006] HNR weiss angeblich mehr über die Besetzung...
One of HNR's industry sources has informed us that Joel Moore (Dodgeball) has been all but officially confirmed as one of the leads in James Cameron's forthcoming science fiction epic, Avatar.
In the futuristic, $200M film, tentatively set to begin shooting in Vancouver this fall/winter, a disabled war vet named Jake must contend with complex political and social machinations when he is taken to the planet Pandora and forced to contend with not only the culture of the humanoid Na'vi, but also with his fellow human inhabitants.
The 20th Century Fox film, which will make extensive use of cutting-edge motion-capture technology, is targeting a 2008 release.
Cameron has signed Joe Letteri and Weta Digital to create the visual effects, creatures and digital environments for the project. Letteri is a three-time Oscar winner, along with his Wellington, New Zealand-based team, for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and King Kong.
"Weta has proven themselves a leader in visionary effects, especially in the area of performance capture based character animation, which is a big part of my new film," Cameron said.


[05.09.2006] Moviehole meldet...
Rising young Aussie actor Sam Worthington - star of Geoffrey Wright’s new reimagining of "Macbeth", opening later this month down under - is in talks to star in James Cameron’s next film, "Avatar".
The actor, who last year auditioned for the role of James Bond (and apparently impressed the bejesus out of the studio), is one of two actors that are fighting it out for the male lead of Josh, an ex-Marine controller, in the $200m movie, says JoBlo.com.
The other contender, though not mentioned, is believed to a bigger name. Cameron’s keen to cast an unknown in the film, though - and despite a bit part in the U.S pic "Harts War" with Bruce Willis, his name isn’t known stateside - so Worthington’s lucky numbers may just come up. [...]


[04.07.2006] Bei AICN gibt es folgende Insider-Meldung...
[...] The Visual FX person that was in question in that report is Brooke Breton, who has been working alongside Jon Landau around the time of Warren Beatty's DICK TRACY, but hooked back up with him on the James Cameron produced SOLARIS.
Nanospy #371 tells me that Rob Legato has been VERY HANDS on throughout the Research and Development phase in James Cameron's reach for the stars with AVATAR (aka PROJECT 880). Also - this film doesn't have a budget in any real world sense of things. Then - in regards to Quint's paranoia that this is a 100% CG - this is absolutely not going to be 100% CG. When I spoke to James Cameron, when he announced through AICN, that PROJECT 880 was AVATAR, he told me that the film would have sets, props, actors and the whole nine yards. That said - if you know the old AVATAR scriptment - there was a need for mocap aliens that become surrogate explorers for our leads. The Mo-Cap work will be for them. Also - Nanospy #371 says that Fox's leadership is anticipating that whatever date they end up first announcing, that it'll most likely be a year later than that, as they keep refering to Cameron as being like, "Kubrick" in his attention to detail and attention to deadlines. [...]


[02.07.2006] Bei MTV.com gibt es ein Interview mit James Cameron...
[...] Cameron is finally pulling back the curtain on two would-be trilogies that might define sci-fi filmmaking for the next decade and beyond. "I have two franchises, if you will, or films that play out over an arc of a number of films that I am going to be making," he revealed. "[I won't make them] back-to-back, but one after another. They, in turn, might spawn back-to-back sequels. It all depends on how the first one does."
The first of these films is a long-rumored love story to be set against the backdrop of a planet-hopping future - and has been known by several names. " 'Project 880,' we'll probably release it as 'Avatar,' " he said, mentioning two such aliases. "We haven't locked in on the title yet, but this is what we are calling it. [There will be] possible sequels if it does well; if it tanks, no."
"We're going to do 'Avatar' first, and we're in active pre-production on it right now," he added. "I'm directing it; I'm directing all these films. [...]


[01.07.2006] Bei AICN gibt es folgende Insider-Meldung...
[...] Apparently James Cameron has hired the visual effects supervisor from MASTER AND COMMANDER to fill that duty on AVATAR. Now, I thought I overheard my source saying the guy's name was Peter something, but I went to IMDB and looked under MASTER AND COMMANDER's vfx crew and didn't find any Peters in the bunch. But I'm sure it's indeed somebody from MASTER AND COMMANDER. You might want to ask your close circle of sources about this.
More importantly, Weta is doing the visual effects, some 2000 effects shots in all. The film right now is budgeted at $315 million. That sounds like a lot, but then, the success of TITANIC has given Cameron carte blanche with regard to budget. The film is indeed scheduled for a 2008 release. Cameron currently has effects tests on his laptop that he's showing around to crew members to entice them to come aboard the project. [...]


[07.06.2006] Bei MCN gibt es einen Casting-Aufruf für das "Project 880"... Neben einer Beschreibung der Hauptcharaktere gibt es folgenden Hinweis zur Storyline...
[...] In the future, Jake, a paraplegic war veteran is brought to another planet, Pandora, which is inhabited by the Na'vi, a humanoid race with their own language and culture. Those from Earth find themselves at odds with each other and the local culture. [...]

[12.04.2006] Bei AICN gibt es einen dezenten Hinweis auf das "Project 880"...

[01.03.2006] Endlich die offizielle Bestätigung: "Project 880" ist "Avatar" !!! Harry von AICN sprach mit James Cameron...
[...] PROJECT 880 is AVATAR, or as he put it, "a retooled version of AVATAR" We talked about the scriptment that got out and he said while he was annoyed that it got out, he realized it was really no different than adapting a novel, and that certainly adapting that scriptment, which was incredibly dense as it was, had been a great challenge in and of itself.
Now he still doesn’t know if it is going to be BATTLE ANGEL ALITA or AVATAR that comes next. You see deep within the N.S.A. like security of LIGHTSTORM, Jim has been constructing a Virtual Production Studio completely unlike anything anyone has ever seen before. Within that space are two separate teams concurrently prepping and getting ready to shoot back to back essentially over a 3 year span, BATTLE ANGEL ALITA and AVATAR.
Because of the films’ mutual lack of a BIG STAR in the lead role, his start up on filming isn’t having to be locked down. So both projects can be prepped right up to the last minute before he calls it as to which is getting made.
Why the back and forth? It isn’t because he’s trying to drive us crazy, it’s because he is so in love with both projects that he can’t just emotionally choose one over the other. What has to be decided is which project is the greater commercial introduction to the technology that he’s going to be unleashing upon us. You see. This isn’t just a "next film" to Jim, it’s about evolving cinema as we’ve come to know it. [...]
I asked about whether or not he’s seen "Alita" yet, and he confirmed that on both ALITA and AVATAR he’s seen working models that he’s quite satisfied with. [...]
Lastly, he wanted people to understand something in regards of the Digital projectors that would be being placed in theaters around the world. These projectors have the capacity to screen things at up to speeds like 120 to 140 fps. The entire industry is going to be shifting to higher frame rates, probably somewhere above 40fps where suddenly the strobing you see or can detect on those big massive battle scenes in films like TROY, which instantly make you disconnect. Those will go away. And on AVATAR and BATTLE ANGEL ALITA it is absolutely necessary to have those higher frame rates, one for the sheer projection of the Stereo images, but also the sort of images he’s planning on putting out there are just the type that at 24 fps, would start to kind of break-up and become unintelligible.
The very last thing I asked was in regards to him having a finish line in his head by which point he’ll know for a fact whether it will be BATTLE ANGEL ALITA or AVATAR - and he said it would be a couple of months and that he’d give me a call to keep me in the loop. [...]


[18.02.2006] EW.com meldet...
After nine years, three documentaries, one Entourage stint, and about 15,000 Celine Dion jokes, the shock isn't that James Cameron is back. It's that his first feature since Titanic won't be Battle Angel, the sci-fi-meets-anime project (based on Yukito Kishiro's Japanese graphic novels) that Cameron fans have been anticipating for years. ''We've moved Project 880 into first position,'' Cameron told Entertainment Weekly at the Santa Barbara film festival.
So just what is Project 880? Don't ask Cameron: ''It's as classified,'' he says, ''as the Manhattan Project.'' (That secrecy hasn't stopped some industry observers from guessing that 880 is actually a version of Avatar, the director's oft-rumored love story set against interplanetary war.) Whatever it is, Cameron is ready to shoot 880 at Twentieth Century Fox - where he's also preparing Battle Angel. Neither film has been completely cast, but 880 is now slated for '07 and Angel is set for '09. ''We couldn't do one unless we do both,'' says Cameron. ''They use the same technology.''
And that's where things get really cool. Cameron is no stranger to cutting-edge gadgetry - he's been on the forefront of the CGI revolution since Terminator 2. Now he's using realistic-looking motion-capture techniques like those that made The Lord of the Rings' Gollum so eerily lifelike, and shooting both new movies in brand-spanking-new high-definition 3-D. The catch? If the movies are to be distributed in 3-D format, he hopes to have at least 1,000 theaters converted to digital projection. (You'll view high-def 3-D through an updated version of the old glasses, but regular 2-D will be available.) Don't take these release dates to the bank, however. ''We don't want to get jammed up like on Titanic,'' he says, refusing to rule out the possibility that Project 880 could move to 2008. ''The consensus has been we will serve no wine before its time.''


[13.02.2006] BusinessWeek Online berichtet über die ehrgeizigen Pläne bzgl. eines MMOG basierend auf "Avatar"...

[08.02.2006] AICN sprach mit James Cameron...
QUINT: I'm resigned to the fact that you're going to keep a lid on PROJECT 880...
JAMES CAMERON:
Good. That saves us time.
QUINT: But I'm curious why the secrecy...
JAMES CAMERON:
Why the secrecy? Um... People tend to dissect movies without seeing them and to me that spoils the magic. Now, having said that, we'll tell everybody what we're doing eventually.
QUINT: Do you have any idea when?
JAMES CAMERON:
I'm thinking March.
QUINT: Yeah? Very soon, then.
JAMES CAMERON:
Pretty soon, pretty soon. We've been working on this film for 6 months. (laughs) I'm kinda surprised no one knows what we're doing! [...]


[04.02.2006] Moriarty von AICN meldet...
[...] despite Cameron’s assurances that we are going to see BATTLE ANGEL ALITA next, we were getting bombarded with rumors about the resurrection of "it," a film called AVATAR, to the point that Harry had to finally mention it last August.
So is that what we’re going to see in 2007? Is it going to happen instead of BATTLE ANGEL? Are we finally going to get a look at AVATAR? We’ve been talking about this film for pretty much the full ten years that Ain’t It Cool has been around. We’re missing a lot of that first year and a half, but here’s one of our early mentions of the project, and a review from the year 2000 of the treatment, which cracks me up if only because AB King somehow managed to make it all about Arnold Schwarzenengger... again.
But all of this simply raises a question, one that I wish I could ask Cameron directly. I wish I could just say, "My question for you today, Mr. Cameron, is very simple: are we finally going to Pandora?"
What set me off? This e-mail appeared in the mailbox earlier tonight:
AvatarMovie.com
ExplorePandora.com
VisitPandora.com
All are registered to Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman Machtinger & Kinsella LLP, the law firm that represents James Cameron. All were registered in May or June 2005.
It looks like we'll be able to take a virtual safari of Pandora's flora and fauna once the marketing campaign begins...which sounds pretty awesome to me. [...]
Cameron’s finally coming back to blockbusters.
I know Cameron’s in Santa Barbara today. He’s going to be seeing a lot of people face to face. I’d like to ask everybody who’s going to be there to ask him the same question after they say hello. I’ve waited a full decade so far to see Josh Sully’s adventures on this distant planet, and if there’s even a chance we’re really about to see the Na’vi come to life, then I have to know...
"Are we finally going to Pandora?" [...]


[23.07.2005] JoBlo.com meldet...
Since June of last year we've been wondering what James Cameron's PROJECT 880 is. It was supposed to compete with BATTLE ANGEL for Cameron's next film but since a casting call appeared online we assumed (not knowing anything about 880) it was for ALITA and that film would be next. But a scooper by the name of Mike writes in with an interesting theory and some pretty good research to back it up about Cameron's dualing films. Mike says it's not BATTLE ANGEL that's next, but the mysterious PROJECT 880 and that the latter is actually AVATAR, a film Cameron has been trying to get off the ground since the TITANIC days. First read this description of AVATAR lead character Zuleika from Cameron's treatment: "A NA'VI WOMAN. She is young, and lithe as a cat, with a long, slender neck, muscular shoulders, and nubile breasts... a statuesque vision. Let's not mince words here... she is devastatingly beautiful. For a girl with a tail. In human age she would be in her late teens."
Now let's read the Mali Finn casting call, to "star in a James Cameron film that begins principal photography spring 2006," released last year: "FEMALE LEAD: 16-mid 20s. Any ethnicity, including Caucasian. She moves and behaves with confidence and a sense of nobility. Lithe as a cat. Athletic and agile. She is a warrior. Graceful movement and an ear for languages and dialects are essential." Some definitely similarities, right? And the "ear for languages and dialects" lends itself to the fact that the character is part of that Na'vi people who speak their own dialect. So if the casting call is to be believed and this film would start production this spring, will PROJECT 880/AVATAR go before BATTLE ANGEL? Our man Mike says the ANGEL script will continue to be revised while 880/AVATAR will film in spring at Fox Baja. [...]


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Sam Worthington spielt Jake Sully

JOSH SULLY - Beschreibung aus dem Scriptment: 'Josh has it a little worse than most because of his involvement in a stupid little war people barely remember. He is paralyzed from the waist down, and his useless legs hang twisted and shrunken down the front of his wheelchair. Josh still wears his army jacket, and with his unkempt beard and hair, and surly eyes, he is pretty much ignored by the crowds which buffet him like surf. Just another angry vet, a piece of discarded human trash.'

AVATAR - Beschreibung aus dem Scriptment: 'The avatar is bigger than a human. It would stand about eight feet tall, if it uncurled. Its skin is blue... two shades of blue in a banded pattern like a snake of lizard (though the skin is smooth, not scaly). An iridescent cyan blue, almost robin's egg, is contrasted with a deep ultramarine which borders on purple. The darker color is almost solid on the back, and down the backs of the legs. The body is, strangely, almost human in most ways. The waist is narrow and elongated, the shoulders very wide, giving a V shaped upper back. The neck is long (maybe twice as long as an average human, or a little longer than some Vogue models) and, we will see, can turn almost 180 degrees, like an owl. The body overall is more slender, proportionately, then the average human, reminiscent of a Masai or Watusi. The musculature is sharply defined, given no sense of emaciation despite the thin proportions. [...] The hands are graceful, with three very long fingers, and one opposed thumb. The fingers curve smoothly, bending without joints. This sounds off-putting, but it is really quite beautiful. The faces are exquisite... with cheekbones high as any Pharoah's and large wise eyes, maybe twice the size of ours. When open they dominate the face, like those of a cat, or a lemur. The mouth is also large, but essentially human, with a faint cat-like bifurcation of the upper lip, and a coloration like permanent deep purple lipstick. The teeth are white, with pronounced canines, upper and lower. These guys are clearly carnivores, or at least omnivores. Did I mention the tail? They have a tail. Long and slightly prehensile, but more like the tail of a panther than a monkey.
A complex pattern of iridescent dots and lines, perfectly symmetrical, runs over the body, almost following the lines of the nervous or circulatory system. These are bioluminescent chromatophores, and they glow in the dark like fireflies. The alien can communicate with these, and in fact they usually are shifting and changing color to indicate mood and emotion, without conscious control. The body has no hair whatsoever, though there is what looks like a black pony tail, or queue, originating in the back of the head and hanging down almost to the waist. This is not hair, but actually an external part of the nervous system [...]'
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