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James Cameron talks Avatar sequels, Terminator, Aliens, and a whole lot more

04.14.2014

This past weekend, director James Cameron did a Reddit AMA and covered the gamut in terms of Q&A, ranging from the current state of the AVATAR sequels, his thoughts on the latest TERMINATOR films (and reboot), the ALIEN films (post ALIENS), what happened to TRUE LIES 2, the best movie he's seen in theaters recently, his thoughts on 3D being used for all movies, and he would win in a fight between a T-800, and Alien Queen, and a Na'vi. It was kind of an exhausting session and there is a mountain of interesting bits to sift through if interested, but I cherry-picked some of the more interesting movie-related answers from the innovative filmmaker, which are often fascinating, especially when hearing his thoughts on the films that carried on in franchises he started, but wasn't involved in directly.

On why he didn't do ALIEN 3 and how ALIEN 5 almost happened with Ridley Scott:

We never talked about Alien 3. I don't remember the timing exactly, but I might have been making the Abyss at that time, also for Fox. What came up was the idea of doing Alien 5, and at one point I pitched that I would write it and produce it, and Ridley would direct it, and we had lunch talking about this, and we were in violent agreement, then nothing happened. What happened was Fox went ahead with Aliens Vs Predator, and I said "I really don't recommend that, you'll ruin the franchise, it's like Universal doing Dracula versus the Werewolf," and then I lost interest in doing an Alien film. But Prometheus is seen as the A-level alien, as opposed to rather, the derivative. I don't think I have anything to offer on the Prometheus sequels, that's Ridley's, I think I'll stick to the Avatar universe.

On what he thought about Ridley Scott's PROMETHEUS:

Interesting. I thought it was an interesting film. I thought it was thought provoking and beautifully, visually mounted, but at the end of the day it didn't add up logically. But I enjoyed it, and I'm glad it was made. I liked it better than the previous two Alien sequels.

On his guilty pleasure movie:

Oh, probably Resident Evil, the first one.

On his thoughts about TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES, TERMINATOR: SALVATION and the upcoming reboot, TERMINATOR: GENESIS:

Well, I have to be objective, or as objective as possible about that. I'm not big fans of the films, I think that the big ideas of the first movies - I didn't make the second film until I had an idea as big as the first film, and it had to do with the moral complexity of the story, and asking the audience by the end of the film to cry for a Terminator. I don't think that the 3rd or 4th film lived up to that potential. Sarah Connor Chronicles I never really watched much of it, so I never gave it a chance I get to get hooked, like you have to with a TV series. I'm hopeful that the new films, which are being made right now as a reboot, but still involving Arnold, will be good. From what I've seen from afar, it looks like they will be quite good.

On what happened to the TRUE LIES sequel:

We abandoned True Lies 2 after 9/11, because we didn't think a comedy about fundamentalist terrorists was so funny anymore. And then we never picked it up again.

On the best movie he's seen of late:

This year, 2014, I haven't seen that much that inspired me yet. My favorite film of last year, hands down, was Gravity, and I was hoping it would win best picture, but certainly happy that my friend Alfonso Cuaron won best director. I did think that this new Captain America was an interesting film for its genre, in that it tackled this idea of digital surveillance and the kind of dark side of our hyperconnected society.

On what happened to BATTLE ANGEL ALITA and why he chose to continue with the AVATAR franchise instead:

My intention when I made Avatar was to do Battle Angel next. However, the positive feedback for Avatar and the support of the message of Avatar, encouraged me to do more of those films.

For me, the success was a factor because I was encouraged by the fact that an environmental film, or a film about nature, could be successful. It's certainly not just about money. I'm considering success to mean the measure of the ability of the film to communicate. Every director wants their film to communicate. The biggest factor, however, is the drive to continue developing the world-- more characters, more creatures with unfettered creativity.

On the use of 48 fps and the use of 3D:

48 fps to me is not a format, it's a tool, like music it's good to use sparingly and in the right spot. I believe all movies should be made in 3D, forever, but the projection needs to be better, and brighter. I want people to see in the movie theaters what I am seeing in my perfectly calibrated screening room, and people aren't seeing that. Larger formats. I'd love to see screens get bigger. In terms of storytelling, I'd like to see Hollywood embrace the caliber of writing in feature films that we're currently seeing in the series on television - more emphasis on character, and less on explosions and pyrotechnics. And I'm talking the big tentpole movies, I think they're obnoxiously loud and fast.

On the current status of the AVATAR sequels:

The second, third and fourth films all go into production simultaneously. They're essentially all in preproduction now, because we are designing creatures, settings, and characters that span all three films. And we should be finished with all three scripts within the next, I would say, six weeks.

Finally, on who would win in a fight between a T-800, Alien Queen, or Na'vi:

Is the T-800 armed or not armed? An Armed T-800 with a plasma rifle will clean house, all it has to do is shoot the Alien Queen, and have it bleed on the Na'vi. I would think that all three of them unarmed. Queen beats Na'vi. Queen beats T-800, because the T-800 would tear the arm off a queen, which would dissolve the mantel and shut down the cyborg. Now a Na'vi riding a leonopteryx, or a Na'vi riding a thanataur, that would be a different story.

Some very interesting bits from Mr. Cameron. He goes on to discuss other films, including TITANIC, as well as his passion for diving, and talks at length on his beliefs on climate change, and other more personal info, so if you're up for digging through the whole things, by all means have a look. I've grown up with Cameron's films and count many of them among my favorites, so it's always cool to hear what the man has to say, even if I don't agree. Although I'd rather see him making something other than more AVATAR films, I'll always champion him as one of the best filmmakers in town.

AVATAR 2 is aiming towards a December 2016 release with AVATAR 3 close behind for December 2017 and finally AVATAR 4 sliding in sometime in 2018.

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Extra Tidbit: What would YOU like to see Cameron work on post-Avatar?
Source: Reddit

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4:59PM on 04/15/2014

RESIDENT EVIL!

OMFG! James Cameron please make Resident Evil with Jill and Chris please please please please!
OMFG! James Cameron please make Resident Evil with Jill and Chris please please please please!
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9:53PM on 04/14/2014
That's a good interview, he doesn't sound as blustery as he normally does. I really hope the rest of his career doesn't consist solely of Avatar films. I remember him saying that he wanted to do Jurassic Park before Spielberg got it. I'd definitely welcome another James Cameron creature feature/monster movie.
That's a good interview, he doesn't sound as blustery as he normally does. I really hope the rest of his career doesn't consist solely of Avatar films. I remember him saying that he wanted to do Jurassic Park before Spielberg got it. I'd definitely welcome another James Cameron creature feature/monster movie.
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8:25PM on 04/14/2014
Although, I do love 3D, I don't agree all movies should be in 3D. Not all movies should be in color either, Raging Bull would be entirely different in color.
MOST movies should be 3D. Every week something comes out that makes me wonder why it's not in 3D.
And, he is TOTALLY correct about properly calibrated projection equipment. Every 3D Bluray I own looks much, much better at home than it ever did in the theater...
Although, I do love 3D, I don't agree all movies should be in 3D. Not all movies should be in color either, Raging Bull would be entirely different in color.
MOST movies should be 3D. Every week something comes out that makes me wonder why it's not in 3D.
And, he is TOTALLY correct about properly calibrated projection equipment. Every 3D Bluray I own looks much, much better at home than it ever did in the theater...
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9:50PM on 04/14/2014
A few movies should be 3D. Movies where the director is thinking seriously about how it works in their story.
A few movies should be 3D. Movies where the director is thinking seriously about how it works in their story.
6:40PM on 04/14/2014
Dammit. I really want to see Cameron's Battle Angel Alita would look like.
Dammit. I really want to see Cameron's Battle Angel Alita would look like.
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+4
5:31PM on 04/14/2014
"However, the positive feedback for Avatar and the support of the message of Avatar, encouraged me to do more of those films. "

Translation:

The infinite amount of money that movie made encouraged him to milk that sucker for all it's worth.

"In terms of storytelling, I'd like to see Hollywood embrace the caliber of writing in feature films that we're currently seeing in the series on television - more emphasis on character, and less on explosions and pyrotechnics. And I'm talking the
"However, the positive feedback for Avatar and the support of the message of Avatar, encouraged me to do more of those films. "

Translation:

The infinite amount of money that movie made encouraged him to milk that sucker for all it's worth.

"In terms of storytelling, I'd like to see Hollywood embrace the caliber of writing in feature films that we're currently seeing in the series on television - more emphasis on character, and less on explosions and pyrotechnics. And I'm talking the big tentpole movies, I think they're obnoxiously loud and fast."

Oh. You mean "caliber of writing" like essentially making a Dances With Wolves... in space. Gotcha.

Not hating on the guy. I enjoy his movies. Just sayin'.
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+0
4:50PM on 04/14/2014
Also, I kind of hope that the Avatar sequels bomb so he'll get back to doing something else. I don't think that's going to happen, even if I'm quite certain that they're not gonna make even remotely as much money as the original, but if they're not good, I'd really like to see them bomb.
Also, I kind of hope that the Avatar sequels bomb so he'll get back to doing something else. I don't think that's going to happen, even if I'm quite certain that they're not gonna make even remotely as much money as the original, but if they're not good, I'd really like to see them bomb.
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-1
4:46PM on 04/14/2014

kind of funny

I can agree with some of what he is saying but I find it kind of hilarious that the writer/director of Terminator criticises Prometheus for plot-holes while those two films are based on huge, gigantic time travel plot-holes. I love both of those movies, they're amazing action/horror spectacles, much like Prometheus and making a judgment on them based on plot-holes sounds a bit ridiculous to me because they're not the films strengths or aims - they're based on technical mastery, tension
I can agree with some of what he is saying but I find it kind of hilarious that the writer/director of Terminator criticises Prometheus for plot-holes while those two films are based on huge, gigantic time travel plot-holes. I love both of those movies, they're amazing action/horror spectacles, much like Prometheus and making a judgment on them based on plot-holes sounds a bit ridiculous to me because they're not the films strengths or aims - they're based on technical mastery, tension building, amazing shots, action and solid acting.

On a side note I also don't agree that all movies should be 3D. Definitely not until they create a glasses-free version of it. I actually think it should be the other way around and that movies should be mostly 2D.

I do agree with him on Terminator sequels - they completely abandonded the main message of the first two films that future is what you make it. Also, kudos for liking Gravity, though he might be a little based because Cuaron shot it in Cameron's beloved 3D.
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4:24PM on 04/14/2014

"James Cameron doesn't do what James Cameron does...

...for James Cameron. James Cameron does what James Cameron does because James Cameron is...JAMES CAMERON."

Anyway, I'll always respect Cameron for what he's done. Although I found it kind of funny that he mentions "less on explosions and pyrotechnics," even though those types of "tentpole" films are the ones that tend to rely on 3D to make up for a less-then-stellar script. And for crissakes Jim, no, not every film should be in 3D. Otherwise, the AMA was a really great read.

Still wish
...for James Cameron. James Cameron does what James Cameron does because James Cameron is...JAMES CAMERON."

Anyway, I'll always respect Cameron for what he's done. Although I found it kind of funny that he mentions "less on explosions and pyrotechnics," even though those types of "tentpole" films are the ones that tend to rely on 3D to make up for a less-then-stellar script. And for crissakes Jim, no, not every film should be in 3D. Otherwise, the AMA was a really great read.

Still wish he would have gotten around to doing BATTLE ANGEL ALITA before he tackled another AVATAR film, much less another three, but then again, James Cameron does what James Cameron does...
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+2
3:20PM on 04/14/2014
Of course he wishes every movie would be 3D, he's got too much invested in 3D. You don't invest that heavily into technology, and then not hype it up.

3D or not, all long as he just keeps making movies and doesn't take another decade off. I hate 3D. I only ever watched Avatar in 2D. Avatar was a pure adventure film through and through. It was fun as hell, and a great theatrical experience. As long as he keeps the sequels fun, I'll gladly watch them in 2D.
Of course he wishes every movie would be 3D, he's got too much invested in 3D. You don't invest that heavily into technology, and then not hype it up.

3D or not, all long as he just keeps making movies and doesn't take another decade off. I hate 3D. I only ever watched Avatar in 2D. Avatar was a pure adventure film through and through. It was fun as hell, and a great theatrical experience. As long as he keeps the sequels fun, I'll gladly watch them in 2D.
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2:34PM on 04/14/2014

3D my ass

The ONLY 3D i like most is the one from Dudley Boys in WWE...i think he like to feel it from his fans..
The ONLY 3D i like most is the one from Dudley Boys in WWE...i think he like to feel it from his fans..
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2:30PM on 04/14/2014
Only James Cameron could make a ridiculous and bizarre idea like Avatar work. If anyone told me that a movie about people transferring their consciousness into a big blue alien cat person, and that this movie would play like a classic 'Cowboys vs Indians' story, and that this movie would become the highest grossing film of all time despite not being based on any established franchise, I would say this person was smoking crack.
Only James Cameron could make a ridiculous and bizarre idea like Avatar work. If anyone told me that a movie about people transferring their consciousness into a big blue alien cat person, and that this movie would play like a classic 'Cowboys vs Indians' story, and that this movie would become the highest grossing film of all time despite not being based on any established franchise, I would say this person was smoking crack.
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2:22PM on 04/14/2014
"more emphasis on character, and less on explosions and pyrotechnics. And I'm talking the big tentpole movies, I think they're obnoxiously loud and fast."
Seems like he is trashing Mr. Bay and Transformers. Though I don't disagree, even though I am a fan I still would prefer more substance than visuals. One thing that irks me is Bay said a lot of great things about Cameron with getting 3D advice for making TF: DOTM, so it's kind of a slap in the face.
Oh well. To each their own. On that
"more emphasis on character, and less on explosions and pyrotechnics. And I'm talking the big tentpole movies, I think they're obnoxiously loud and fast."
Seems like he is trashing Mr. Bay and Transformers. Though I don't disagree, even though I am a fan I still would prefer more substance than visuals. One thing that irks me is Bay said a lot of great things about Cameron with getting 3D advice for making TF: DOTM, so it's kind of a slap in the face.
Oh well. To each their own. On that note, Avatar was mediocre and unoriginal. Scenery was very nice though. The fact that he wants to make 2 or 3 more of those films is insane. He did great stuff in the past but technology is taking hold of him. EVERY movie should be 3D? ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!
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2:28PM on 04/14/2014
he thought that everyone likes 3d movies..well, i dun & i watch movies every sunday in cinema..
he thought that everyone likes 3d movies..well, i dun & i watch movies every sunday in cinema..
2:29PM on 04/14/2014
And glad to know that some1 here have exactly the same thinking with me.
And glad to know that some1 here have exactly the same thinking with me.
2:20PM on 04/14/2014
All movies need to be made in 3D, are you insane... there's been so few movies that have used that technology properly or, that the special effects really required it. If anything, the IMAX experience is where movies should be leaning towards. People can shit all over Cameron as much as they want, but the guy has made nothing but great movies in his career. I'm not an Avatar fan, but when I saw it, I really appreciated what he did and the world he's built within the movie. He's doing what he's
All movies need to be made in 3D, are you insane... there's been so few movies that have used that technology properly or, that the special effects really required it. If anything, the IMAX experience is where movies should be leaning towards. People can shit all over Cameron as much as they want, but the guy has made nothing but great movies in his career. I'm not an Avatar fan, but when I saw it, I really appreciated what he did and the world he's built within the movie. He's doing what he's passionate about and I'm sure the fans of Avatar will love these sequels. I would have also loved to sit in on that meeting where he told Fox that AvsP was a bad idea, yet they went ahead with it anyway.
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1:29PM on 04/14/2014
Not a huge Avatar fan, but I don't blame him for making more of them. It's a cash cow, no doubt! I'd like to see him do another action/comedy. True Lies is so freaking funny! It's not too late for a sequel and I don't think that it has to be about fundamentalist terrorists. You can't tell me that he can't come up with something else. Also, all movies in 3D??? Is he on crack?! No thanks!
Not a huge Avatar fan, but I don't blame him for making more of them. It's a cash cow, no doubt! I'd like to see him do another action/comedy. True Lies is so freaking funny! It's not too late for a sequel and I don't think that it has to be about fundamentalist terrorists. You can't tell me that he can't come up with something else. Also, all movies in 3D??? Is he on crack?! No thanks!
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1:10PM on 04/14/2014

Noboday wants Avatar 2,3,4.....

Avatar is a terrible film and thats being kind. Very weak characters and story. The only reason it was successful is because its a James Cameron film and he has the money to make money. Why he wants to do 3 more of these movies is beyond me. The special effects were good but Prometheus hands down was a better film visually. No question. And a better movie.
Avatar is a terrible film and thats being kind. Very weak characters and story. The only reason it was successful is because its a James Cameron film and he has the money to make money. Why he wants to do 3 more of these movies is beyond me. The special effects were good but Prometheus hands down was a better film visually. No question. And a better movie.
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1:51PM on 04/14/2014
I don't care if you want to hate on Avatar, but if you think Prometheus is a better film then your comments mean absolutely nothing. Worst film of Ridley Scott's career - it was ridiculous.
I don't care if you want to hate on Avatar, but if you think Prometheus is a better film then your comments mean absolutely nothing. Worst film of Ridley Scott's career - it was ridiculous.
3:20PM on 04/14/2014
@suzy777: Avatar sucks. Prometheus was a better film. Better actors, better plot (at least it was original idea), better special effects, and did it in half the time of that abortion called Avatar.
@suzy777: Avatar sucks. Prometheus was a better film. Better actors, better plot (at least it was original idea), better special effects, and did it in half the time of that abortion called Avatar.
5:41PM on 04/14/2014
Avatar was one of the most disappointing movies I've ever seen
Avatar was one of the most disappointing movies I've ever seen
+2
1:05PM on 04/14/2014
Cameron is my favorite director of all time. He can make whatever film/films he wants, because I know it'll be good.
Cameron is my favorite director of all time. He can make whatever film/films he wants, because I know it'll be good.
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+3
12:31PM on 04/14/2014

Love James Cameron, no matter how successful he is. He's the master of his own filmmaking style.

People line up for his films, cause no one does a James Cameron style film better than Cameron himself. The only recent films I feel came close to being compared to a James Cameron film was Cuaron's Gravity and Ridley Scott's Prometheus.
Aside from Cameron's push of 3D, however I would love to see perfect 3D in Cameron's movie theater he should offer showings, I love James Cameron films! He only does a small amount of them, but they're always fun, exciting, brilliant, visually spectacle, and
People line up for his films, cause no one does a James Cameron style film better than Cameron himself. The only recent films I feel came close to being compared to a James Cameron film was Cuaron's Gravity and Ridley Scott's Prometheus.
Aside from Cameron's push of 3D, however I would love to see perfect 3D in Cameron's movie theater he should offer showings, I love James Cameron films! He only does a small amount of them, but they're always fun, exciting, brilliant, visually spectacle, and even heartbreaking. He's no Hitchcock, or Kubrick, or Spielberg, but he owns his own style. His action, his visual, his themes (there is also more to his films than just great action), his stories (T2 is a great sci-fi action film, but it's story is more enduring than I ever expected to be), his attention/obsession to details. He does it all! Action, science fiction, adventure, drama, screw-ball comedy, romance, epics, history.
I love that he's open minded about other projects, other people's films. Even though I would've loved another James Cameron Alien sequel, or for him to work with Ridley Scott on an Alien film. However, it's no surprise to me they did not see eye to eye. Both Alien and Aliens work wonders together, but also work as stand alone films too. Alien and Aliens are different to each other in many ways.
True Lies 2- I would've loved a sequel, and I find myself saying instantly, "Thanks a lot Bin Laden!"
I loved that he quoted with films needing "more emphasis on character, and less on explosions and pyrotechnics. And I'm talking the big tentpole movies, I think they're obnoxiously loud and fast". Are you reading this Michael Bay?
Thrilled to hear that he views 48 fps as a tool, not as a format. Does ever film need to be in 3D? No, but he proved 3D can be the essential view of certain films. If only more people could understand this, only a small handful have figured it out.
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12:22PM on 04/14/2014
Christ, Resident Evil over Prometheus?
Christ, Resident Evil over Prometheus?
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12:19PM on 04/14/2014
This man would stand by 3D if there was a gun to his head. And like we really need every movie in 3D! "Oh boy cant wait to see the next rom-com in 3D!" says no one but Cameron.
This man would stand by 3D if there was a gun to his head. And like we really need every movie in 3D! "Oh boy cant wait to see the next rom-com in 3D!" says no one but Cameron.
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12:09PM on 04/14/2014
When he finishes the ego masturbation that is 3 more Avatar films, I really hope he returns to his Aquaman franchise. I heard it needs a reboot :)
When he finishes the ego masturbation that is 3 more Avatar films, I really hope he returns to his Aquaman franchise. I heard it needs a reboot :)
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11:36AM on 04/14/2014
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