Traverse City Record-Eagle

Arts & Entertainment

December 20, 2013

Cameron sees epic in 'Avatar' films

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — James Cameron says his vision for his three “Avatar” sequels is to create a family epic in the mold of “The Godfather” that will introduce viewers to new cultures and go underwater on his fictional moon Pandora.

The director announced Monday he will be filming the sequels in New Zealand, where he shot the triple Academy Award-winning original. In an interview with The Associated Press, Cameron also talked about life on a New Zealand farm, where he’s growing walnuts and allowing his children to roam.

Cameron, 59, said he plans to release the first sequel in 2016, seven years after the release of “Avatar,” which has become the highest-grossing film in history with a box office take of nearly $2.8 billion.

He said a core team has been developing new software for the sequels even while he’s been gone on other projects, including 18 months planning a 7-mile descent to the deepest part of the ocean, which he successfully completed last year.

“It’s going to be a lot of new imagery and a lot of new environments and creatures across Pandora,” he said. “We’re blowing it out all over the place. At first I thought I was going to take it onto other worlds as well, in the same solar system, but it turned out not to be necessary. I mean the Pandora that we have imagined will be a fantasy land that is going to occupy people for decades to come, the way I see it.”

Cameron said the films will explore different Na’vi cultures as well the cultures of other Pandora creatures.

“There’s a fair bit of underwater stuff. It’s been inaccurately said that the second film takes place underwater. That’s not true,” he said. “There are underwater scenes and surface-water scenes having to do with indigenous ocean cultures that are distributed across the three films.”

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