Nearly 15 years after he originally conceived of the project and after more than four years of development, James Cameron finally brings his epic “Avatar” to the screen. The film explores an alien culture through the eyes of Jake (Sam Worthington), a marine who falls in love with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), one of the natives on the alien planet Pandora. We caught up with Cameron in London to discuss the massive undertaking.
How important was it to push the boundaries of 3-D filmmaking with this project?
If I’m constantly reminding you that you’re watching a 3-D movie, then you’re constantly sitting there reminded that you’re in a movie theater. So we approached the 3-D as if it were a window, or a portal into a reality. We didn’t look for opportunities to constantly exercise our 3-D muscle in front of you.
There are strong environmental and political messages in the film. How did you work those in?
Historically, the kind of science fiction that I grew up on had a message. ... And as much as I loved “Star Wars,” it was a moment in history when science fiction became more escapist fantasy and less a kind of intellectual medium. “Avatar” is an attempt to merge science fiction back to its roots of having a warning.
Is there going to be a sequel?
When I pitched this to Fox four-and-a-half years ago, I said, “You know, we’re going to have to spend a lot of money and time and energy. So it really makes sense to think of it as the potential start of a franchise.” We used to joke that we’d cut to 10 years later, and Jake’s kind of fat, sitting on the couch in a palm tree, and he’s like, “Hey, honey, get me a beer.”