James Cameron: ‘Avatar’ sequels to draw on ‘master navigators’

March 30, 2012 | 1:46 p.m.
james cameron mariana trench James Cameron: Avatar sequels to draw on master navigators

James Cameron with his submersible, the Deepsea Challenger (Mark Thiessen/National Geographic)

James Cameron’s alpha geek extracurricular hobby of deep-sea diving has always influenced his day job. The bioluminescent life on Pandora in “Avatar,” the story-framing voyage to the wreck in “Titanic” and the underwater traumas of “The Abyss” all emerged from how the director spends his downtime — way, way down in the ocean. Now Cameron’s recent record-setting solo dive to the Mariana Trench is providing further inspiration for the “Avatar” sequels, which will head to the oceans of Pandora.

The filmmaker said the seven-year preparation for his dive–a plunge of nearly seven miles to the deepest point in the world in a torpedo-shaped, one-man submersible called the Deepsea Challenger — sparked ideas for the “Avatar” followups by exposing him to the small island nations of the Western Pacific where he staged the project.

“The best inspiration I got for ‘Avatar’ 2 and 3 was dealing with the master navigator culture in Micronesia,” Cameron said by phone from Tokyo on Friday, where he attended the Japanese premiere of “Titanic 3D.”

james cameron and sam worthington avatar James Cameron: Avatar sequels to draw on master navigators

James Cameron and Sam Worthington at work on "Avatar" (Fox)

The Micronesians, a seafaring culture who navigated the Pacific for centuries without the aid of compasses or charts, already have a lot in common with the blue Na’vi residents of Pandora — they’re an indigenous, matrilineal culture, colonized by outsiders. And the cerulean and aquamarine tones of “Avatar” and its inhabitants seem drawn from postcards from the watery Micronesian region.

“A lifetime of diving does feed into the visual palette,” Cameron conceded. But the director said his primary interest in the Deepsea Challenger project is scientific rather than cinematic. He embarked on the endeavor in partnership with National Geographic, and plans to resume diving as soon as he finishes promoting “Titanic 3D,” which opens in the U.S. on Wednesday.

“Everybody tries to connect these dots,” Cameron said. ” Everybody looks at the world through the lens of Hollywood. When I’m doing deep ocean exploration, I’m doing deep ocean exploration and when I’m making ‘Avatar,’ I’m making ‘Avatar.’ I object to this notion that my purpose in diving is to do research for a movie. My purpose in making a movie is to make enough money so I can dive.”

Cameron said he planned to head from Tokyo back to his Deepsea Challenger crew in Guam, where he’ll make at least two more dives. When he surfaces, Cameron will enter pre-production for “Avatar 2.”

–Rebecca Keegan



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14 Responses to James Cameron: ‘Avatar’ sequels to draw on ‘master navigators’

  1. Brock says:

    Ugh. DO NOT WANT.

  2. mattinacan says:

    Avatar, the most two dimensional 3D movie ever made

  3. oog ghost says:

    You may paint them blue, but this is the Greenest Environ'mental' film I have ever seen.. I will never see another Cameron film. I don't go to the movies to get a Leftest propaganda film….. fool me once shame on me.

  4. S.RAMESH says:

    I appreciate and salute Mr.James, who had reached the deepest part of ocean in the world. CONGRATS ! S.RAMESH-CHENNAI/INDIA

  5. S.RAMESH says:

    I appreciate and salute Mr.James, who had reached the deepest part of the ocean in the world.

  6. Guest says:

    Did no one take him to Pagat while he was on Guam? Avatar parallels Guam's quest to keep the US military from desecrating an ancient site by placing a machine gun firing range there.

  7. JohnDoe says:

    So did I. Any film that can dually entertain me, and at the same time, draw the intense hatred and ire of far right conservatives, because it tells the truth about human/corporate plunder, is automatically brilliant in my book.

  8. Flash says:

    Yeeeeeehaaaa right on, lets mash the planet, stop edjikating our young and keep on repressing women yeeehaw!

  9. Zach says:

    Call it "leftist" propoganda all you want. The message is imoprtant. Maybe if more people listened, our planet wouldn't be falling apart.

  10. Bruce says:

    its a good movie, why does anyone have to complain about it being political? It is fiction, people. Just relax and enjoy.

  11. Nate says:

    A little late to be saying anything, but I agree with you Bruce. It's a really good movie, if you don't look at it on a different angle. It's just a movie. Nate

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