CON: Jackson / Cameron

It’s happened again. I get all ready to cover Hall H from the San Diego Comic Con International Live, but have to resort to covering it Almost Live as in it’s just me preten ding like I’m live here with Peter Jackson and James Cameron for the Entertainment Weekly visionary director’s panel. But we do with what we can, and I happen to know I have a drink waiting for me as soon as I get out of this effin’ place, so it’s all good in the hood. Let’s jump on in to Hall H and see what’s going on…

  • They’re saving the best for last for sure this day, as this is the last panel of the day.
  • Jeff Giles from EW is now out and ready to introduce the directors.
  • He makes the analogy of them both working with Kate Winslet, Peter Jackson (PJ) discovered her, while James Cameron (JC) tried to drown her.
  • They’re here to talk about the future and film, and here they come! The crowd goes wild, and they get a standing ovation from everyone in the Hall! Very exciting to see these two together.
  • It’s both of their first times at Comic Con ever.
  • PJ would have worn a Storm Troopers costume if he would have come to the Con 20 years ago. He really wants to hit the floor and see all the cool toys rather than have to be in panels all day.
  • JC would come as PJ. Crowd laughs.
  • What movies do they watch over and over again? PJ likes to watch GOODFELLAS and CASINO when he needs inspiration. He loves those movies. Fuck yeah.
  • JC doesn’t watch movies while he’s making a movie. He looks at ALL movies, and channel surfs late at night. He doesn’t want to be influenced by other movies while he’s making a movie. But while making ALIENS, some BBC show inspired the hell out of him.
  • Some crazy dude in a costume and squirt gun just came on stage, and is now being escorted off by security. He wanted a glass of water from the panel’s pictures, and somehow got on stage. JC and PJ don’t really know how to react—they thought it was part of the show, and so did the rest of the audience. It wasn’t! Oh snap!
  • Kate Winselt invited PJ on the set of TITANIC, but he never actually had a chance to meet JC; however, they met after PJ won all the Oscars. Literally, the day after the Academy Awards, the two had a meeting.
  • The two never really bonded and started talking until just a few years ago. Seeing Gollum made JC realize that AVATAR could be possible.
  • PJ claims he didn’t direct that part of the movie. Fran did (his wife).
  • They came together over the 3D because of their shared passion for the medium and the technology. KING KONG was going to be in 3D at one point, but it never happened.
  • According to JC, TITANIC will be rereleased in 3D. Or, technically, they’re going to  dimensionalize it. Could take up to a year or more to make it happen. JC has seen some of it, and says that it looks spectacular.
  • PJ would love for LOTR to be 3D, but he doesn’t think that will ever happen because there aren’t enough 3D equipped movie theaters to release it.
  • JC wants Blu-ray at home to be in 3D. He flippin’ LOVES 3D! He’s pushing it hardcore… let’s hope it all works out for him.
  • PJ thinks that 3D is best on a 50 inch screen at home. He say that it looks amazing.
  • They address what it was like to be told that movies like TITANIC and LOTR would be huge failures back in the day, and how it felt to show the studios and naysayers that they were right the whole time. Their movies rock and their visions rock and they know it. The battle to convince everyone is part of the challenge of filmmaking that these guys seem to get off on.
  • PJ thinks that getting past the Greenlight stage is the hardest part of the filmmaking process. Once a film is greenlit, the studios back away and give them space to work.
  • JC is all about trying things new and somewhat impossible, or maybe possible. He’s all about doing something nobody has ever done before.
  • AVATAR had a tough time getting Greenlit. For more than a year, Fox funded the pre-production stage of the film BEFORE even greenlighting it, producing 40 seconds of film that cost around $10M from Fox, but Fox believed JC could do it.
  • JC had it in his contract to be able to shop the footage if Fox said NO to the original 40 seconds. Luckily for both parties, that never happened.
  • The EW guy thinks that AVATAR would be great on weed. JC agrees.
  • He also notes that it’s awesome that JC and PJ are here pimping original movies and not remakes.
  • PJ feels that remakes are becoming the usual because studios are feeling defensive and don’t want to loose money. So they remake movies that are sure to make a butthload of money, even if they aren’t original.
  • JC agrees. The DVD revenues are down, so the economy plays a big part of it. Apparently DVDs are what makes studios money, not theatrical runs. Interesting.
  • Neill Blomkamp gave the EW host some question for JC. He wants to know what is in JC head, what cars he drives, and he thinks the state of the industry is going. Oh, and where he goes on vacation.
  • JC drives a Toyota Hybrid, and claims he doesn’t go on vacation.
  • PJ feels the new generation that is into video games is just a new generation with different interests, but films will never go away.
  • But he agrees that films are down… but not out. People will always love films and movies, and are better than any video game. JC notes that you can’t cry during a videogame… unless you die before getting to the big boss at the end.
  • What does JC picture 20 years from now in terms of home entertainment and theater entertainment? He doesn’t see anything beyond 3D, and we’re pretty much already there. It won’t go to Smell-o-Vision or something like that. Sound has been mixed in 3D for 20 years. The only thing that could get better is the resolution.
  • The one thins JC wants to see happen in the future is changing the image frame rate from 24 fps to 48 fps. If it moves faster through the use of the digital projector, it would look amazing.  Movies would be better if they shot that fast, in JC’s opinion. Digital Projectors can support it, so why not?
  • What do they feel about kids watching their movies on their iPods?
  • PJ thinks it’s unfortunate. That’s not the way to experience a movie. But that’s their choice. He just doesn’t see that as a good way to watch a movie. The crowd agrees and cheers.
  • Steven Spielberg, JC, and PJ were all on set of TIN TIN at one time. What do they do when they’re all together? They crank call George Lucas.
  • They all have a great working relationship with each other, sharing technologies and whatnot.
  • What about THE LOVELY BONES, PJ?
  • He says that it’s very different than anything he’s done before, and he can’t wait for people to check it out. The first trailer comes out on August the 7th, and on Apple August 2nd.
  • JC feels the new technology empowers actors, and not replaces them.
  • There’s a screaming baby behind me and it’s driving me NUTS!
  • But anyway, the technology can make it look real, but it can’t replace the emotions actors can produce. But whatever the actors do, the technology can present it just as if they were wearing a suit or something.
  • The real-time playback with instant cgi images sounds insane to work with, and totally awesome.
  • The actors performances drive the cgi creatures like Gollum or the Avatars. Just another tool like make-up, like Dracula and The Wolf Man back in the day.
  • The new technology may end up having the studios owning the actors image and render it as if they were there… even when they’re not there. Cool stuff, and kind of scary and weird.
  • They have no money to use expensive actors on big budget effects driven movies. PJ doesn’t like superstar baggage from certain actors. Both of them don’t necessarily like working with ‘super stars.’
  • Do they think the international box office will change the face of what stories are told from studio picutres, making movies non-U.S. centric like they are today?
  • JC doesn’t think that will happen, at least, not by the studios.
  • JC applauds PJ for bring film recognition to New Zealand, and making his movies there. He respects that. So do I.
  • The actors of LOTR called it the biggest low budget film ever made, because all the money made it on screen, and not on big trailers and whatnot.
  • How does PJ feel about JC has been working in New Zealand for AVATAR? Good. Though at the same time, PJ was shooting THE LOVELY BONES in Pennsylvania. But they were in New Zealand for about a week after LOVELY BONES wrapped, and right before AVATAR’s shoot was over.
  • PJ couldn’t use WETA to do the effects for DISTRICT 9 because they were over used working on AVATAR. He couldn’t even use his own studio!
  • PJ is working with Universal Pictures replacing the King Kong ride that was destroyed in the fire last year, where the tram goes onto a stage where King Kong (on screen, not a giant animatronic) surrounds the tram, with a wrap around view of Skull Island, it’s all in 3D, at 60 fps, with Kong fighting T-Rex, and people are in the middle of it with the Tram moving with every action. T-Rex is gonna try and eat tourists, there will be goo, there will be hot air blowing, it’s gonna be the ultimate theme park ride! Can’t wait!
  • Check out the new King Kong next summer!
  • Q&A time, baby!
  • For JC, was AVATAR a dream he’s had since he was young, or for a long time? Yes. He has been tooling with the idea for the last 30 years, really.
  • AVATAR has been a work in the process for a long time. And now the technology is here to make it happen.
  • For PJ, please make the new trailer for DISTRICT 9 focus on the story and not the action. Looks amazing.
  • For JC, would you ever make a low budget film? The crowd applauds!
  • He can see the attraction of making low budget flicks like THE LOVELY BONES, like PJ did. He directed some documentaries in the $4M range, so that’s his contribution. But he never really answers it. I don’t think he’s into making low budget films anymore.
  • Do they like using new technology or the old effects?
  • PJ feels that the industry is always evolving; the end is always the same. To tell a story and give us great characters. And the crowd applauds.
  • JC was all about the effects from the beginning, and he enjoyed doing the effects. But he likes the effects better now because they were a pain in the butt to do back then. The special effects back then wouldn’t fly now.
  • PJ loves Biplanes.
  • Guy compliments them on their appearance on ENTOURAGE.
  • JC plans on pursuing music artists for making concert films in 3D. Trent Reznor is also one he wants to work with, but hasn’t had the opportunity yet.  But once they have the money, it’ll likely happen.
  • The new technology could make a new way to absorb music.

This was about the time the battery on my computer died, but luckily there was only about 5 more minutes of the Q & A session left before they wrapped it up. Someone asked them what was more important, effects or story when it comes to making a good movie, and their answer was (of course) story, as without that, no one cares about the effects. So true. JC also made a good point for future filmmakers needed to actually live life before they’re truly able to deliver a story with emotion. With the experience of having your heart broken and whatnot, there’s no way you can really make a film with a heavy emotional side.

Someone brought up TIN TIN again, and is sounds amazing, in that it’ll be animated but will look like the real thing—like a live-action version of the comic book. That is, if people really looked like they do when they’re animated. And finally, BATTLE ANGELS. JC is still interested in making that movie, and it may be his next project after AVATAR!

This was more of the enjoyable panels of the day, mostly because I’m a huge fan of both James Cameron and Peter Jackson, and see them up there chatting about the future of film and where the technology is leading us was sobering and interesting as well. Now get me the hell outta Hall H!


Source: JoBlo



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