James Cameron Says Avatar Message Is Misinterpreted
James Cameron recently appeared on The Bonnie Hunt Show to discuss his new movie, "Avatar".
Bonnie asked the famous director, who briefly donned 3D dark glasses "where did this come from inside your head? This was in your head. What the heck is going on in there?"
James said "We've been trying to figure that out for a long time." He continued "as a kid I loved science fiction. I still love science fiction.
Everything from watching those old Ray Harryhausen movies to creates. As a kid I didn't understand how that was done. It just mesmerized me.
I wanted to do a story that would put you back into that childlike state of seeing something you don't really understand how it was done, you don't really care to understand.
It's almost like magic. Not that there's magic in the movie per se. You go to another planet, you have this grand adventure, you have this great love story."
Ingredients Of Good Story Telling
Bonnie said "you do have all the ingredients of good story telling. You do have the romance and everything, but as far as the alternative world goes and all the technical stuff."
A clip was shown of the alternative world with Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington flying on the birds. James explained "you can see how everything Zoe did, and here's Sam Worthington and everything that they do is exactly mirrored in their final characters."
Four Years In The Making
Bonnie said "four years in the making?" James said "four and a half years of my life spent on this film ending like two weeks ago when we finally got it done." Bonnie asked Sam if there was ever a time when he was "bored and wanted to quit now" working on the movie.
Sam replied "you know, that wouldn't have gone over too well with Fox after I talked them into making this, however many millions of dollars, movie."
Bonnie "but here's the story, you didn't even go to film school." Sam "no, self taught. I was a truck driver, precision tool and dye machinist, I was a high school janitor. You know, just a blue collar guy." Bonnie asked "and what nudged you. Where was the transition?"
Cameron's Wacky Ideas
James "I was always drawing and painting and had all these wacky ideas and writing stuff. I just never believed I would ever be a filmmaker and I went to "Star Wars" on opening day in '77 and I just saw all this stuff and everybody else was 'wow, I never saw anything like that before' and I said 'I've seen that before' and he pointed to his brain 'right up here.' Not that exact same thing, but a lot of stuff like it."
He told Bonnie after seeing "Star Wars" he thought "if that can be the highest grossing film in history, maybe I could have a job doing that type of stuff. Soo, I got off my duff, went out and started making films." Bonnie shook her head and said "amazing."
The Romance In The Film
Bonnie showed another clip with Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Grace Augustine in a scene with actor Sam Worthington. In the clip Sigourney was placing Sam in a type of enclosed pod where he had to put his head down before she closed the pod.
After watching the clip Bonnie said "I did get claustrophobic, thank god that didn't last too long because I was getting claustrophobic." James reported "Sigourney got claustrophobic in hers too."
Bonnie asked "where does the romance come from? Did you decide to put that element in the story? Obviously your imagination started with this world imagination."
James "I always put some love story in all of my films, even like "Aliens" was a mother daughter love story, surrogate daughter love story. Ever story, no matter how great the design or how cool the special effects, if you don't have a beating heart at the center of it then you're going to lose people. Then the audience won't care and they may admire the pyrotechnics, but they won't care. So we've got to get them to invest emotionally in the characters."
The Message In The Film
Bonnie "what do you say to people that are saying that there's some kind of message in this film that's not good for the country?"
James "Oh, I think they're misinterpreting, you know, my intentions, certainly. I think there's a message in the film about us as human beings and what we need to do to make this a better planet. Both amongst ourselves and in our dealings with nature, there's absolutely a message. But it's not a preachy message. And it's not a teach-y method either."
Bonnie "I do like the fact that the trees communicate. With each other." James "That's right. That's right. The trees are large and in charge on Pandora. Bonnie "yeahhhh. I kinda believe that's true, really." James "do you?" Bonnie "yeah, does that make me a little nuts?"
James Cameron's First Movie Since Titantic
James "no, I think it makes you interesting." Bonnie "this is your first movie since "Titanic". James "yeah" Bonnie "we were just talking about what you did with that time."
James "yeah, I almost kinda left feature film making for awhile and during that hiatus period did a bunch of documentary films which are equally challenging and I did a lot of deep ocean research expeditions over a five year period. And you know I think it's important to get outside this business and have some perspective on this business."
A Life Outside Of Hollywood
He continued and said to Bonnie "You were a nurse you know that there is a life that has nothing to do with Hollywood. And I think maybe that makes me a better filmmakers, I don't know, but I come back, I come back into feature film making. I figured I could still get a gig as a director, you know?"James brought Bonnie some of the items from Avatar which he signed for Bonnie to auction off for her cancer research charity. Bonnie mentioned that actress Michelle Rodriguez would be coming out next and James said "you'll like Michelle. She's a trip, she's a lot of fun."