With two of his last three narrative movies setting records for production costs, director James Cameron has, professionally speaking, danced around the edges of volcanoes for most of his career. It’s just where he seems most at home. Apart from a pair of deep-sea documentaries, though, Cameron, now 55, hasn’t seen release of a theatrical film since 1997’s Titanic. The highly anticipated Avatar represents his play at return to king-of-the-world status, and it bears all the trademarks of a Cameron production — a reported price tag of around $230 million, and a brawny storyline that again pushes the boundaries of special effects and myriad other big screen technologies.
Like Cameron, Avatar is a rare breed. “With this film we havesimultaneously a blessing and a curse, which is the uniqueness of it,”says producer Jon Landau, just back from a quick jaunt to Hong Kong.“We don’t have a sequel to Batman or something based on anotherunderlying intellectual property. So the challenge is how to tellpeople in 30-second sound or video bites what this movie is about.”
Landau has somewhat of a unique perspective on Cameron, having workedwith him on Titanic, and having a relationship that dates back evenfarther than that. To him, Cameron’s relative absence from the bigscreen doesn’t represent any trepidation at following up Titanic‘sunparalleled success. “Jim has never been the most prolific ofdirectors,” says Landau. “What it takes for Jim to jump into a movie isa burning passion, because when he does jump in it’s 110 percent ofhimself, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Jim had that passion for theexploration that he did with both Aliens of the Deep and Ghosts of theAbyss, and no movie sparked that in him in that term. There was stuffwe put into development, but it never fully ignited that flame.” For the full read, from H Magazine, click here.